Obama: Slower growth if Europe means fewer U.S. jobs

8:58 PM, Jun 19, 2012   |    comments
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President Obama said tonight that European leaders must quickly fix their ailing economies and banking systems in order to help boost world financial markets -- and create jobs in the United States.

"Slower growth in Europe means slower growth in American jobs," Obama told reporters after the G-20 summit it Los Cabos, Mexico.

He also acknowledged that the festering European problems could cost him the election -- but said that's not his immediate concern.

"If we're taking the right steps, if we're doing the right thing, then the politics will follow," Obama said.

After a two-day summit of the Group of 20 economic powers, Obama expressed confidence that Europe is "determined to move quickly on measures to promote growth and investment," which he said could help "provide confidence and break the fever."

"Our friends in Europe clearly grasp the seriousness of the situation and are moving forward with a heightened sense of urgency," the president said.

Some highlights from the news conference:

7:55 p.m. -- Ben Feller of the Associated Press asked if Europe's problems will kill U.S. jobs -- and cost Obama re-election.

Obama said all economic issues could have some kind of impact on the fall election, "but that's not my biggest concern right now." The president again expressed confidence in European Union plans to help debt-ridden nations, and reassure global markets.

He also urged Congress again to pass his jobs plan, which he said could create 1 million additional jobs.

8:00 p.m. -- Jeff Mason of Reuters asked Obama if Russia and China are willing to help create a political transition in Syria that would not include President Bashar al-Assad.

Obama called Syria a major topic of discussion in meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao. He admitted Russia and China are "not aligned" with the U.S. and allies in pushing for a political transition in Syria, but they do "recognize the dangers of all-out civil war" in the heart of the Middle East.

Obama again said he doesn't see Assad staying in office: "I don't see a situation where Assad stays and violence is reduced."

8:06 p.m. -- Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg News asked Obama his reaction to an article in a German publication by a Mitt Romney economic adviser criticizing the president's approach to Europe.

Obama said the article by a political opponent in an overseas publication belies the notion that politics stops at "the water's edge." He also said: "I would point out we have one president at a time and one administration at a time."

By David Jackson, USA TODAY

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