NEW YORK, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama said Thursday the U.S. political system is "broken" and that makes the 2012 election "more important than 2008."
Speaking at a fundraiser at the New York home of film producer Harvey Weinstein, Obama reflected on an appearance earlier in the day in Michigan, where he said he saw "the enthusiasm, the energy, the hopefulness, the decency, of the American people."
"What I said to them is you deserve better than you have been getting out of Washington over the last two and a half months, for that matter for the last two and a half years," the president told a New York audience that included actress Gwyneth Paltrow, her husband, singer Chris Martin, comedian Jimmy Fallon, fashion designers Vera Wang and Anna Wintour, singer Alicia Keys and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Obama said Americans "realize that they needed to change the way they work, live and play" because of globalization but "they look at what is happening in Washington and think these folks are from outer space. They don't seem to understand how critical it is for us to work together."
Obama said "Washington reached a low water point" with Congress' handling of legislation to raise the federal limit on borrowing and the public "suddenly realized … we are going to have to get engaged."
"If that energy is harnessed and tapped I am absolutely convinced this country is going to be on the upswing in the next couple of years."
The president "a lot of folks thought you elect Obama and suddenly you can fix politics in Washington" when he ran in 2008, but he said the U.S. political system needs repair.
"Democracy is messy and is tough and our system is broken," he said. "That makes this election more important than 2008."