Emerging from a two-day international summit in Mexico, President Barack Obama expressed confidence late Tuesday that European leaders have the tools and the will to "break the fever" of a continental financial crisis that poses a serious threat to his re-election prospects.
"What I've heard from European leaders during the course of these discussions is they understand the stakes, they understand why it's important for them to take bold and decisive action. And I'm confident that they can meet those tests," Obama told reporters at a press conference marking the end of the Group of 20 summit in the oceanside resort of Los Cabos.
The president said his European counterparts had showed "a heightened sense of urgency" ahead of a European summit later this month to act on measures to reassure markets, preserve the "eurozone" common currency area, increase their economic integration and help their union's debt-ravaged members. He predicted they would unveil key proposals "over the next several weeks."
"Even if they can't achieve all of it in one fell swoop, I think if people have a sense of where they're going, that can provide confidence and break the fever," he said, insisting that Europe's problems are "entirely solvable" by its leaders. Obama, who frequently charges that "headwinds" from Europe are buffeting the sputtering American recovery, said the crisis was "having a significant impact in the United States."
"If fewer folks are buying stuff in Paris, or Berlin, that means we're selling less stuff made in Pittsburgh or Cleveland," he said, in a nod to two of the election's most pivotal battleground states. "All these issues, economic issues, will potentially have some impact on the election."
"But that's not my biggest concern right now," he said, stressing that his sorest worry is helping Americans who are out of work, and prodding the divided Congress to approve his stalled jobs plan.
"Let's make sure that we're doing those things that we do have control over," he said.