Obama: Europe debt crisis could affect US election
President Barack Obama acknowledged that Europe's debt crisis could affect his chances at re-election in November, but he warned that his administration can't control how quickly the Europeans fix their problems.
Obama, speaking at the close of the Group of 20 economic summit in Mexico, also expressed confidence Tuesday in Europe's ability to "break the fever" of its raging debt crisis as he sought to calm global financial markets and worries of voters at home.
The U.S. economy is in a tentative recovery, but a slump in hiring and other mixed signals have muddled Obama's re-election prospects as Republican rival Mitt Romney hammers at the issue in his campaign. Whatever happens in Europe is quickly felt overseas.
"All of these issues, economic issues, will potentially have some impact on the election," Obama said in a news conference that brought to a close his last foreign trip before the November election.
Asked about criticism of his economic proposals from an adviser to his Romney, Obama gave a prickly response.
"We have one president at a time and one administration at a time," he said. "And I think traditionally the notion has been that America's political differences end at the water's edge."
Mindful of his audience of voters in the U.S., Obama said: "The best thing the United States can do is to create jobs and growth in the short term, even as we continue to put our fiscal house in order over the long term."
Obama held a lengthy private meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country plays a pivotal role in addressing the European crisis. Obama also held a joint meeting Tuesday with leaders from Britain, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the European Union.
Despite the words of unity during the Mexico meetings, European leaders showed signs that they have heard enough about their troubles, particularly from Americans. Memories linger of the 2008 financial crash that was born in the United States and destroyed jobs and wealth.
"The eurozone has a serious problem, but it is certainly not the only imbalance in the world economy," Italian Prime Minster Mario Monti said Tuesday. He said the United States' own financial problems were mentioned in G-20 talks "by almost everybody, including President Obama."
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