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Obama: Wall Street 'should be concerned' about shutdown

October 02, 2013|By Christi Parsons

WASHINGTON – Wall Street ought to be worried about the political climate in the capital and the potential for the federal government to default, President Obama said Wednesday.

Stalemate between him and Republicans in Congress is nothing new, Obama said, but he also said that "this time's different."

Wall Street, he said, "should be concerned.”

“When you have a situation in which a faction is willing potentially to default on U.S. obligations, then we are in trouble," Obama told CNBC’s John Harwood in an exclusive interview.

FULL COVERAGE: The U.S. government shutdown

The comments came as Obama prepares for the first face-to-face meeting with congressional leaders since the government went into shutdown on Tuesday.

Neither side has shown much optimism that the meeting will result in movement toward passage of a resolution to continue the lapsed funding for federal operations.

White House officials said the interview would serve as a preview of Obama’s comments to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and the other leaders.

In the CNBC interview, Obama said he is frustrated with Republicans.

"During the course of my presidency, I have bent over backwards to work with the Republican Party," he said. "And have purposely kept my rhetoric down. I think I'm pretty well known for being a calm guy.

"Sometimes people think I'm too calm. And am I exasperated? Absolutely, I'm exasperated. Because this is entirely unnecessary."

The stalemate could have a disastrous effect on the economy, Obama said, suggesting that business leaders should get involved to prevent a default.

"I think Wall Street can have an influence, CEOs around the country can have an influence," Obama said. "I think it is important for them to recognize that this is going to have a profound impact on our economy and their bottom lines, their employees, and their shareholders. Unless we start seeing a different attitude on the part of that faction in Congress."

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