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Obama: 'Our Politics All Too Often Encourages People To Think Selfishly'

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AP Photo / Susan Walsh

"It’s also a values question – do we want to live in a country as wealthy as we are where if somebody gets sick they lose their home, they go bankrupt, they have to weigh can I go right now to the emergency room knowing that that may mean I can’t pay for my child’s school tuition? That’s not the country I want to live in and that’s not the country you want to live in, which means we’ve got to fight for it.”

He said that disputes over the budget, climate change and immigration reform are also "values questions."

 “We know what works, and what’s stopping us is a failure of our politics and a lack of ambition and we shy away from what might be hard," he said. "And our politics all too often encourages people to think selfishly or short-term, and that’s what the debate in Washington is about and that’s what the debate in this country generally is about right now.”