LITTLE ROCK Gov. Mike Beebe told a crowd of business leaders Wednesday that partisanship in Washington is unacceptable as the nation grapples with the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Beebe, speaking at a Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Philander Smith College, blamed ideological bickering in part for the country's problems emerging from the recession.
Companies are improving financially, Beebe said, but are hesitant to hire because of uncertainty tied to the political scene in Washington.
"I don't care who you are," Beebe said. "They didn't build this country based on my way or the highway. It never was done that way. And if these folks up here don't start to get it, they're going to be coming back home."
Beebe, a Democrat, told the crowd of about 100 people that he had a personal idea of which party was more to blame.
"I'll let you all try and determine where I am on that," he said, directing the group to look to "who's reaching out and who's slapping that hand away."
Beebe said voters need to hold the state's representatives and senators accountable to ensure progress is made in Washington.
"Send the message," he said. "Send the message to your elected representatives in Congress and the U.S. Senate that you're tired of this garbage when they just fight each other for political points ... And if they can't [work together], then kick their tail back home."
Beebe prefaced his remarks on the Washington partisanship by reiterating recent statements that he has no plans to run for Senate or president when his second term as governor ends in three years. He joked that most politicians considering running for another office will say they haven't decided.
"That's the standard political answer," Beebe said. "That's not my answer. It's no."