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Obama blames GOP's 'combative' tone for Washington gridlock

President Obama fired back at the GOP, blaming their "combative" tone for the fighting that has gridlocked Washington much of the year.

"You never want to say 'it's all them,' " the president said in an interview with ABC News which aired on Friday. “But I do think right now, at least, in the Republican Party there are a couple of notions — No. 1 is that ' "compromise" is a dirty word.' No. 2, 'anything that Obama's for, we're against.' "

"Those dynamics are making it more difficult to get things done," the president added. 

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"It's not unusual, after such a severe economic crisis like this, for politics to be impacted by that — for people to lurch into extremes or to get more combative."

In the interview Obama targeted GOP presidential hopefuls former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as representative of the Republican party's refusal to compromise with him.

"If I propose a healthcare bill that is full of Republican ideas, in fact is very similar to the law that was passed by the current Republican front-runner — or one of the top front-runners, the other guy was supportive of many of the ideas as well — suddenly, they become against it," said Obama.

The president responded to recent poll numbers showing his popularity at new lows, saying that the country was facing a "difficult time."

Forty-nine percent of Americans held an unfavorable opinion of Obama, with 48 percent viewing him favorably, in an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Dec. 14. It was the first time the president's unfavorability numbers had exceeded his support.

Obama was asked by ABC News's Barbara Walters if the results suggested "that the American people find you a mediocre president."

"What it suggests is that we've gone through a very difficult time. And, in order for us to move forward, we're going to have to do more work," the president responded.

When pressed by Walters if he would not be a "mediocre two-term president," Obama said he wanted "to be a really good two-term president."

"I think the choices we've made have made America stronger, and have made the American people — put them in a better position in order to succeed over the long term," he said. "Short-term, folks are still hurting."

Recent polls taken after the interview was recorded, though, have shown the president rising, and there are signs his advisers are growing more confident after Republicans took a battering in the recent debate over extending a payroll tax holiday.

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