President Obama rebuked congressional Republicans on Friday for opposing his economic initiatives, saying they should be held accountable for not doing enough for the middle class.
Mr. Obama also criticized Republicans for considering legal action over his use of executive orders, arguing that they were allowing a politically motivated vendetta to block actions that could help working people, like raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment insurance.
''We can't afford to wait for Congress right now, and that's why I'm going ahead and moving ahead without them wherever I can,'' Mr. Obama told about 3,500 people who gathered on the shores of Lake Harriet in Minneapolis to hear him speak. ''Now Republicans are mad at me for taking these actions. They're not doing anything, and then they're mad that I'm doing something.''
The president, looking ahead to the midterm congressional elections this fall in which his party is fighting to keep control of the Senate, is seeking to insulate Democrats from the anti-Washington sentiment that polls show is increasingly potent among voters. The mood threatens to harm incumbents and dampen turnout.
''The basic attitude is, 'Everybody is just crazy up there.' '' Mr. Obama said. ''But if you actually read the fine print, it turns out that the things you care about right now, Democrats are promoting -- and we're just not getting enough help.''