NEW YORK, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday Democrats and Republicans have irreconcilable differences "in a battle for the hearts and minds of America."
Speaking at a fundraiser in New York, the president said the U.S. economy has been stabilized but the level of unemployment remains "just too high."
"And I think this is going to be an extraordinary fall," he said on a day when he proposed tax increases on the wealthiest Americans as part of a plan to reduce the federal debt. "And the reason is, is because at this point, there are enormous stakes, and we're in a battle for the hearts and minds of America. You know, over the last 2 1/2 years, obviously, we've gone through extraordinary times."
The president said he "could not be prouder" of the "tough choices" his administration has had to make to pull the United States out of recession.
"We've been able to stabilize the financial system, we've been able to make sure that 30 million people get healthcare and that we [have been able to] provide millions of kids the opportunity to go to college that otherwise wouldn't have had it," he said.
In a shot at Republicans, Obama said he had hoped that "in the midst of a crisis like this, that we could pull America together to move forcefully on behalf of the American Dream and on behalf of all those who aspire for something better for their kids. And what has been clear over the last 2 1/2 years is that we have not had a willing partner."
While noting "we've been able to get some stuff done despite that, and despite a filibuster in the Senate," Obama conceded Democrats and Republicans in Washington now have "some irreconcilable differences, let's put it that way."
Referring to criticism of his proposal as class warfare, the president said "the truth of the matter is, is that if we don't succeed, then I think that this country is going to go down a very perilous path. And it's not going to be good for those of us who have done incredibly well in this society and it's certainly not going to be good for the single mom who's working two shifts right now trying to support her family. It's not going to be good for anybody."