WASHINGTON. President Barack Obama accused his Republican opponents yesterday of playing election-year politics by refusing to join with Democrats in approving an extension of U.S. jobless benefits.


Obama, under pressure to reduce the 9.5 percent U.S. jobless rate, sought to direct some of Americans’ frustration over the sputtering economy toward the Republicans, who are hoping for big gains in Nov. 2 congressional elections.


Obama said Republicans have opposed a $34 billion extension of benefits for the unemployed in this instance but had voted for such an extension when Republican President George W. Bush had asked for them.