In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, President Barack Obama poses for a photo prior to an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in the White House library in Washington four days into a partial shutdown of the government. Obama, who successfully ran for president as a first-term senator, spoke critically about first-term Republican senators, such as Ted Cruz of Texas, who have been leading efforts to shut the government if Republicans can't extract concessions from the White House. He said that when he was in the Senate, he "didn't go around courting the media. And I certainly didn't go around trying to shut down the government." (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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Q: Well, the tea party has really stood in the way of a lot of those objectives that you're seeking. Do you think the tea party has been good or bad for America? THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don't want to paint anybody with a broad brush. And I think one of the great things about our democracy is, is that we've always had a whole bunch of different regional attitudes and philosophies about government and ideologies, and the tea party is just the latest expression of probably some very real fears and anxieties on the part of certain Americans. And I get that. So there's nothing objectionable to having strong principled positions on issues, even if I completely disagree with many of their positions. But there are certain rules to make sure that everybody is participating, everybody is respected, the process moves forward in an orderly way, and we don't create chaos. So my concern has less to do with the tea party, per se, or the particular positions that they take on issues, but rather it's this idea that if they don't get 100 percent of their way, they'll shut down the government or they'll threaten economic chaos. That has to stop.