Obama blasts House Republicans over lawsuit threat

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Obama blasts House Republicans over lawsuit threat
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: US President Barack Obama (L) talks with Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) after a luncheon at the US Capitol, on March 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. Speaker Boehner hosted a lunch for Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland in honor of St. Patricks Day on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama shakes hands with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, March 14, 2014, as he leaves the Friends of Ireland luncheon. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: US President Barack Obama (R) walks with Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) after a luncheon at the US Capitol, on March 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. Speaker Boehner hosted a lunch for Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland in honor of St. Patricks Day on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: US President Barack Obama (C) and Vice President Joseph Biden (L) talk with Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) (R) after a luncheon at the US Capitol, on March 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. Speaker Boehner hosted a lunch for Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland in honor of St. Patricks Day on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama meets with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Democratic president and Republican speaker met in the Oval Office, their first meeting alone at the White House since December 2012, when they failed to reach agreement on tax reform and spending cuts during deficit-reduction talks. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
US President Barack Obama (R) meets Speaker John Boehner in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on February 25, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 25: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) (L) at the Oval Office of the White House February 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama and Speaker Boehner met to discuss topics of their top legislative priorities. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama meets with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Democratic president and Republican speaker met in the Oval Office, their first meeting alone at the White House since December 2012, when they failed to reach agreement on tax reform and spending cuts during deficit-reduction talks. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
US President Barack Obama (R) meets Speaker John Boehner in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on February 25, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama meets with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Democratic president and Republican speaker met in the Oval Office, their first meeting alone at the White House since December 2012, when they failed to reach agreement on tax reform and spending cuts during deficit-reduction talks. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
US President Barack Obama (R) meets Speaker John Boehner in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on February 25, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama meets with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Democratic president and Republican speaker met in the Oval Office, their first meeting alone at the White House since December 2012, when they failed to reach agreement on tax reform and spending cuts during deficit-reduction talks. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 25: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) (L) at the Oval Office of the White House February 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama and Speaker Boehner met to discuss topics of their top legislative priorities. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio is surrounded by reporters as he returns to the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, following a meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio is surrounded by reporters as he returns to the Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, following a meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio is surrounded by reporters as he returns to the Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, following a meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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BY ROBERTA RAMPTON

(Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday blasted House Republicans who have threatened to sue him for issuing executive orders to implement policies that would have a hard time passing in the Republican-controlled chamber of Congress.

"They don't do anything except block me and call me names," Obama said in an economic speech that concluded a two-day visit to Minnesota.

Obama reacted to a threat on Thursday from House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, who said he was considering a lawsuit charging the president with overstepping his constitutional boundaries by taking a series of executive actions and other steps.

Obama is campaigning hard for Democratic congressional candidates this year, as Republicans have a chance to grab control of the Senate and add to their majority in the House. Such an outcome would doom the president's chances of getting major legislation approved, such as an immigration overhaul.

This year, Obama has used executive actions on issues such as energy and education to get around Republican opposition. His administration has also proposed regulations to limit power plant carbon emissions and is considering ways to ease the immigration crunch.

"So we take these actions, and now Republicans are mad at me for taking these actions. They're not doing anything and then they're mad at me for doing something. I'm not sure which of the things I've done they find most offensive, but they've decided there going to sue me for doing my job," Obama said in his speech at picturesque Lake Harriet.

Obama's actions have generated an uproar among Republicans, with Boehner alleging the president has abused his executive authority by implementing policies without congressional approval.

Boehner's spokesman, Michael Steel, rejected the president's criticism, saying: "The American people, their elected representatives, and the Supreme Court have all expressed serious concerns about the president's failure to follow the Constitution."

Obama has been trying to break out of the usual White House routine and show voters he understands their concerns. While in Minneapolis, he met with two people who wrote to him and ate a hamburger with a young woman struggling to pay her bills.

Obama likes to joke that he is like a bear breaking out of his cage. On Friday, he said Republican inaction "drives you nuts ... and it drives me nuts."

"Sometimes I'm supposed to be, you know, politic about how I say things, but I'm finding lately that I just want to say what's on my mind," he said.

Other presidents have actively invoked executive actions. During his first four years in office, Obama signed 147 such orders. In comparison, George W. Bush signed 173, Bill Clinton enacted 200 and Ronald Reagan ordered 213 in their first terms.

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