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Boehner: Obama has given up on country to campaign

Boehner acknowledges a reporter during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington
Boehner acknowledges a reporter during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Thursday said President Barack Obama has "given up on the country" to focus on his re-election rather than working with Republicans to boost the economy.

"Mr. President, why have you given up on the country and decided to campaign full time instead of doing what the American people sent us all here to do?" Boehner said. "And that's to find common ground to deal with the big challenges that face our economy and our country."

As Obama held a news conference in the White House a few blocks away, Boehner said the Democratic president had shown no leadership by holding rallies around the country to promote his $447 billion jobs bill rather than negotiating with Republicans to pass legislation that would bring down the 9.1 percent unemployment rate.

"I've had my share of disappointments this year ... but nothing has disappointed me more than what's happened over the last five weeks -- to watch the president of the United States give up on governing, give up on leading, and spend full time campaigning," Boehner said at symposium.

House Republicans have passed roughly a dozen bills as part of their job-creation agenda that would loosen pollution regulations and make it easier to drill for oil and gas domestically. The Democratic-controlled Senate has not taken up any of them for a vote.

"I can't tell you how dangerous our situation, our economy's in and how dangerous the situation in Europe is," Boehner said. "And yet the president, some 14 months before the election, throws in the towel and decides he's going to spend all of his time out campaigning. We're legislating, he's campaigning. It's very disappointing."

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan and Stella Dawson; editing by Xavier Briand)

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