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Obama: This Time Is Different, Wall Street Should Be "Concerned"

JOHN HARWOOD: You mentioned calm. Wall Street's been pretty calm about this. The reaction I would say, generally speaking, has been, "Washington fighting, Washington posturing, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah." Is that the right way for them to look at it?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: No, I think this time's different. I think they should be concerned. And-- I had a chance to speak to-- some of the financial industry who came down for their typical trip. And I told them that-- it is-- not unusual for Democrats and Republicans to disagree. That's the way the founders designed our government. Democracy's messy.

But when you have a situation in which-- a faction is willing potentially to default on-- U.S. government obligations-- then we are in trouble. And if they're willing to do it-- now, they'll be willing to do it later. One thing that I often hear-- is, "Well, Mr. President-- even if they're being unreasonable, why can't you just go ahead and-- do something that makes them happy now?" And I have to remind people--

JOHN HARWOOD: Or the constitutional option.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Right, well, what I have to remind people is that-- what we're debating right now is keeping the government open for two months. We would then be going through this exact same thing in the middle of Christmas shopping season. Which I don't think many businesses would be interested in. We saw what happened in 2011.

And then we'd have to go through it again six months from now and six months after that. And one thing that I know the American people are tired of, and I have to assume the vast majority of businesses are tired of, is this constant governing from crisis to crisis. So in that sense, do we need to break that fever? Absolutely. We have to stop doing that.

Let's get a budget that allows people to plan over the long term, that allows us to deal with our fiscal problems in a sensible, reasonable way, even on an issue like healthcare. You know, if they want to give me specific suggestions around how we can improve delivery of health insurance to people who need it and people with pre-existing conditions, I'm happy to talk to them about it. But I'm not going to do it subject to the threat that somehow America defaults on its obligations.

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