EXCLUSIVE: President Obama Tells Latina the Economic Crisis “Has Shaken A Lot of Confidence”

President Obama Talks to Latina Magazine
President Barack Obama is interviewed by Latina Magazine during a phone call in the Oval Office, Aug. 10, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Despite acknowledging that the recent showdown with Congress over raising the debt ceiling “has shaken a lot of confidence” and left “some repair work that needs to be done,” President Obama does not plan to call Congress back from its recess to address the growing economic crisis.  “The issue for Congress isn’t simply being back in town if all they are doing is engaging in the same gridlock that we saw before,” the President told Latina magazine in an exclusive interview from the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon. “That’s not going to increase people’s confidence.”

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Stressing the need for “a bipartisan approach that not only deals with the short-term challenge with jobs, but also with the long-term challenges with our debt and deficit,” the President said that crafting a successful economic strategy will require “a level of cooperation between the parties in Congress that we have not seen so far, but that I will continue pushing for.”

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The President also downplayed criticisms that he has not asserted enough leadership in his dealings with Congress. “The situation we are going through is not simply a matter of people knowing that their President is concerned,” President Obama said, before laying responsibility for the economic crisis squarely at the feet of Congress, singling out House Republicans for playing “brinkmanship with respect to the debt ceiling.”

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The President’s comments came as part of a wide-ranging interview that will appear in the November issue of Latina magazine, and marks the first time a sitting U.S. President has spoken with Latina.