WASHINGTON (AP)- President Barack Obama says long-standing views that federal workers are lazy or don't do important work have contributed to the government shutdown.
Some 800,000 civilian government employees were idled when the shutdown began Oct. 1, but about 350,000 civilian Defense Department workers were recently called back to work.
Obama says federal employees work hard daily providing a range of services to veterans, business owners, potential homeowners and others.
He says he's been distressed by anti-federal worker rhetoric he calls "damaging and destructive.'' He says a contributing factor in the shutdown is the attitude that civil service workers somehow aren't providing important services and value to the country.
Obama says politicians who complain about federal workers are "dead wrong.''
He commented in an interview Wednesday with Washington TV station WRC-TV.