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June 27, 2017

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Obama lashes out at Republicans, then heads to Starbucks

WASHINGTON--U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday struck out at the literal and political constraints hemming him in during an increasingly contentious second White House term.

Obama went off script to eviscerate Republicans blocking plans to ease the huge burdens in student debt many Americans carry when they graduate from college.

Then Obama marched out of the White House to visit a Starbucks down the street, in a rare unannounced foray outside the security bubble in which U.S. presidents live.

"The bear is loose," Obama declared as he walked out the White House gate, testing his Secret Service detail.

Obama has been showing increasing signs of frustration with his political plight, after failing to move significant reform legislation on Capitol Hill since his second inauguration in January 2013.

A string of rows including over a scandal in delays to veterans health care and a firestorm over a Taliban prisoner swap to free U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl are also bearing down on the besieged White House.

On Monday, Obama poured special disdain on Republicans who oppose a Democratic plan to close tax loopholes for millionaires to provide funds for graduates to refinance outstanding student loan debt at lower rates.

"You would think that if somebody like me has done really well, in part because the country's invested in them, that they wouldn't mind at least paying the same rate as a teacher or a nurse," said Obama.

"I want Americans to pay attention to see where their lawmakers' priorities lie here. Lower tax bills for millionaires or lower student loan bills for the middle class. This should be a no-brainer."

The bill has little chance of making it through Congress where Republicans control the House of Representatives and can block legislation in the Democratic Senate.

Invoking Executive Power

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