By Amie Parnes - 07/31/12 09:30 AM EDT
President Obama cautioned on Monday that the United States will "have some continued headwinds over the next several months" in part because of the economy in Europe.
Addressing a crowd of supporters at a fundraising dinner in New York, Obama said he is working with European leaders and urged them to take "decisive action" to help their sputtering economy.
Obama said he doesn't believe that Europeans will "let the euro unravel."
"But they're going to have to take some decisive steps," he said. "And I'm spending an enormous amount of time working with them, and [Treasury Secretary] Tim Geithner is spending a lot of time working with them to recognize that the sooner they take some decisive action, the better off we're going to be."
Obama suggested that the economic crisis in Europe is similar to what the United States faced early on in his presidency.
"It's an interesting contrast to what's happened here," he said. "The fact that we took some decisive action in 2008 and 2009, despite its unpopularity, indicates what we avoided, this chronic bleeding wound that has been an enormous problem not just for Europe now, but for the entire global economy." Obama said that if Europe can be stabilized and the United States can "position ourselves" on education, science, energy and "a few other pieces of unfinished business" such as immigration reform, the nation will thrive in the coming decades.
The president has used the "headwinds" line before to talk about the economy, spurring the Republican National Committee to mock the explanation. "After four years of blaming 'headwinds,' maybe it's time for Obama to look in the mirror," an ad released last month said.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is in Europe this week for meetings with government officials on the debt crisis. Last week, testifying before the House and Senate banking committees, he said Europe’s struggles were expected to have “substantial, adverse effects on the United States.”