By Sam Youngman - 11/04/11 03:42 PM EDT
President Obama, meeting with world leaders on the global economic situation and facing tough poll numbers, defended his stewardship of the U.S. economy.
At a press conference in Cannes, France, where he's attending a G-20 meeting, Obama said the economy has grown since he's taken office.
His defense comes as the October jobs report showed only 80,000 jobs added and unemployment at 9 percent. And it comes the same day USA Today-Gallup released a poll showing voters in key swing states said they are not happy with the direction of the economy.
"In terms of my track record on the economy, here's just a simple way of thinking about it," Obama said. "When I took office, the U.S. economy had contracted by 9 percent, the largest contraction since the Great Depression.
"A little over a year later, the economy was growing by 4 percent, and it's been growing ever since."
He also tried to place the blame with Republicans, noting that if the GOP would abandon "ideological" positions, "we can solve all our problems."
The president said that when he gets a signal from Republicans "that they're willing to take their responsibilities seriously, then I think we can do more."
He also declined to talk about his reelection bid.
"The least of my concerns at the moment are the politics of a year from now," he said.
Republicans have countered that it's the Democratic-controlled Senate that is holding up jobs legislation. The issue is likely to get more contentious as the election year approaches.
The president is in Cannes for a G20 summit, where one of the main topics is the world economy, particularly the debt crisis rattling the eurozone.
Obama said the leaders have made "important progress" in their work toward fixing the global economy, the outcome of which will affect the U.S. economic situation and, by extension, Obama's reelection effort.
No president since Franklin Roosevelt has been reelected with unemployment over 9 percent.