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Republicans "trying to mess with me" on budget, Obama says

LIBERTY, Mo. President Obama slammed House Republicans for "trying to mess with me" by passing a bill today to fund the government but also defund Obamacare.

At a Ford plant that stamps out components for trucks and vans, Mr. Obama said the budget battles in Washington are "always a contentious process."

But in a campaign-style speech to autoworkers, the president revved his engine against those he called "a faction on the far right." He says they convinced their leadership to pursue policies that could result in a government shutdown or default, if funding for his signature health care program is not cut off.

The president's remarks came just a few hours after the Housepassed a bill to keep the government funded through the end of the year, but at the same time, block further funding for the Affordable Care Act, which even the president refers to as Obamacare.

President Barack Obama speaks at the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant in Liberty, Mo., Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

He called on Congress to quickly pass a funding bill that would avert a government shutdown beginning the start of the new fiscal year October 1st, and to also enact an increase in the debt ceiling, so the U.S. Treasury can resume borrowing to pay its obligations.

"They're willing to plunge America into default, if we can't defund Obamacare," said the president.

"They're not focused on you," the president told about 2,000 Ford autoworkers gathered on the floor of the stamping plant. "They're focused on politics. They're focused on trying to mess with me."

"This is not a banana republic," the president said of the possibility the U.S. might have to default. "We don't run out on our tab. We just can't not pay our bills."

Obama refuses to negotiate over the debt limit

Mr. Obama reaffirmed his determination not to bargain with Congress over raising the debt ceiling.

"I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States," he declared to cheers from his crowd.

He demanded that Congress fund the government and raise the debt ceiling with "no obstruction, no games, no holding the economy hostage if you don't get 100 percent of what you want."

For decades, said the president, raising the debt limit was a routine action by Congress for Democrats and Republicans, under Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson alike.

He said raising the debt ceiling doesn't cost a dime and doesn't add a penny to the deficit.

It does, however, permit more borrowing by the U.S. Treasury which does add to the national debt, now at an all-time high of over $16.7 trillion. The debt has increased more than $6 trillion since Mr. Obama took office - the result of increased federal spending and a decline in revenues.

If Congress doesn't act to raise the debt limit, "we could have another financial crisis," said the president.

On the flight to Missouri aboard Air Force One, Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said there were no firm plans for Mr. Obama to meet with congressional leaders, but he told reporters to "expect that the president will have conversations with congressional leaders in the days ahead."

This was Mr. Obama's fourth speech this week designed to spotlight economic progress made in the five years since the financial crisis began in 2008 with the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

He gavea speech at the White House on Monday, addressed corporate CEOs at the Business Roundtable on Wednesday and convened a meeting of his Export Council on Thursday. He also spoke of the economy in an interview Tuesday with Spanish-language Noticias Telemundo.

His visit to the Ford plant was also meant to illustrate that the auto industry represents one of the best examples of economic recovery on the president's watch.

The White House is quick to point out that "America's auto manufacturers are selling more cars and trucks and have created 340,700 jobs since 2009."

The Ford assembly plant, of which the stamping facility is a part, provided the president with a venue in which employment is on the rise. In May, says the White House, 2,500 factory workers were employed building Ford F-150 trucks.

That figure has now grown to 3,500, split among three shifts, to meet expanded demand for the popular pickup. The White House says employment will grow futher to near 4,500 workers producing F-150s and the new Ford Transit vans.

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