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Obama: Separation of Powers 'Makes It Hard Sometimes for America to Change as Rapidly as We Need
President Barack Obama gets his jacket off at the 'Usina del Arte' cultural centre in Buenos Aires on March 23, 2016. The United States and Argentina sealed a major trade deal on the eve -the first day of President Barack Obama's visit- bolstering the efforts of his counterpart to end a decade-and-a-half of international financial isolation. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama: Separation of Powers 'Makes It Hard Sometimes for America to Change as Rapidly as We Need

"They imagine I would have turned the United States into Cuba."

Often criticized for his use of executive power in the United States, President Barack Obama told an Argentina audience that dealing with Congress can slow the pace of change and is frustrating — but is also something he supports.

“One of the great advantages of the United States system, even though it’s very frustrating sometimes for the president, is that power is distributed across a lot of different institutions. It’s what we call separation of powers and decentralization,” Obama said during a town hall meeting in Buenos Ares.

President Barack Obama takes his jacket off during an event at the Usina del Arte cultural center in Buenos Aires Wednesday. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

“So, it’s not just that the president and Congress are separate centers of power,” Obama said. “It’s also true that you have state governments that are powerful, the private sector is powerful. This makes it hard sometimes for America to change as rapidly as we need to respond to changing circumstances or problems because it’s sort of like herding cats. You are trying to get everything working together and moving in the same direction at the same time.”

In the United States, Republicans in Congress have accused Obama of executive overreach on issues such as immigration, guns and implementation of Obamacare.

However, Obama insisted he is glad the U.S. has a separation of powers. “The advantage is, even if we end up with somebody I might not consider a great president, there is a limit to some of the damage they can do,” Obama said. “I’m sure Republicans feel that way about me. They are glad there is a distribution of power. They imagine I would have turned the United States into Cuba, I suppose. They tend to exaggerate a little bit about how I see the world.”

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