Obama: Senators rallying extremes is bad for gov't

President Barack Obama says freshmen senators who seek attention by playing to political extremes are behaving in a way that

Storm clouds hang over Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, as the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate stand at an impasse with Congress continuing to struggle over how to fund the government and prevent a possible shutdown. The Democratic-led Senate was ready Friday to approve legislation to keep the U.S. government running, but disputes with the Republican-run lower chamber of Congress ensured that the battle would spill over into the weekend, as a potential shutdown hurtles closer. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Barack Obama says freshmen senators who seek attention by playing to political extremes are behaving in a way that's not good for government.

Obama was asked about senators such as Republicans Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky who are playing high-profile roles during their first terms, in part by opposing Obama's agenda.

Obama says he recognizes that being controversial and rallying extreme parts of a political base are the fastest ways to get attention and fund raise.

But he says it isn't good for the people lawmakers are serving.

Obama says as a first-term senator, he didn't seek media attention or try to shut down government. He says he must remind lawmakers that real people's lives are at stake.

Obama spoke during an Associated Press interview.

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President Barack Obama says he doesn't expect Congress to breach the deadline to increase the nation's borrowing limit.

He says he's willing to negotiate changes to his signature health care law and to find ways to reduce spending, but stresses he will not bargain until after Congress reopens the government and passed a new debt ceiling.

Obama says there's a majority of lawmakers in the House who would vote to end the partial government shutdown and raise the credit limit without conditions.

Obama spoke during an interview with The Associated Press.

The government is expected to hits its $16.7 trillion debt ceiling in mid-October. Failure to raise it could lead to a first-ever default. Republicans want cuts in federal benefit programs and future deficits in exchange for their votes.

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President Barack Obama says U.S. intelligence assessments show Iran is still "a year or more away" from building a nuclear weapon.

The president's assessment puts him at odds with Israel, which says Iran is just months away from being able to build a bomb.

Obama, in an interview with The Associated Press, acknowledged that Americans estimates are "more conservative" than those of the Israelis.

Obama also says the world must "test" whether Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is serious about resolving its nuclear dispute diplomatically. But he says the U.S. won't take a "bad deal" from Iran.

Israel has dismissed Iran's outreach to the U.S.

Obama says if he were Israel's leader, he'd be "be very wary as well of any kind of talk from the Iranians."

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President Barack Obama is encouraging consumers not to give up enrolling for insurance under the new health care law.

He says sign-up problems have been caused by a website overwhelmed by high traffic. The president says officials are working "around the clock" to reduce waiting times.

Obama predicts that interest in the new virtual marketplaces for insurance will exceed expectations. He says consumers will take their time to educate themselves before actually purchasing coverage.

Obama spoke during an interview with The Associated Press.

The enrollment period for insurance coverage began Tuesday and has been marked by technological glitches. The administration was taking down the enrollment website for repairs over the weekend.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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