President Obama in an interview Wednesday said he was fed up with Republicans and would not negotiate over the budget until they pass a bill to end the government shutdown.
"I am exasperated with the idea that unless I say that 20 million people, 'you can't have health insurance, they will not reopen the government,’ ” Obama told CNBC in a more than 20-minute interview.
And the president hit back at the suggestion that he deserved some of the blame for bringing the federal government to a halt.
“I think it’s fair to say that during the course of my presidency I have bent over backwards to work with the Republican Party and have purposely kept my rhetoric down,” Obama said, attributing the shutdown to the Tea Party faction of the GOP.
Obama’s interview aired roughly an hour before he is sitting down with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders at the White House.
Administration officials had already said the talks would not serve as a negotiating session but that the president would urge his GOP rivals to bring a clean funding bill to the House floor.
In response, GOP leaders openly questioned the purpose of the White House gathering.
Obama's CNBC interview was part of a concerted effort to gain leverage ahead of an even larger fiscal clash: increasing the nation's borrowing limit.
Earlier in the day, Obama met CEOs at the White House, looking to pressure Republicans with the economic repercussions of possible default on federal debt.
"When you have a situation in which a faction is willing to default on U.S. obligations,” Obama told CNBC, “then we are in trouble."