WASHINGTON - (AP) - President Barack Obama says the U.S. always isand always has been a triple-A country, despite its rating agencydowngrade.

He said also the U.S. didn't need a rating agency to tell itthat it's political system was having trouble functioning.

Speaking at the White House on the Standard & Poor's downgrade,Obama renewed a plea to Congress to take action in September ofhelp create jobs and cushion Americans from a still weak economy.

Obama said financial markets around the world "still believeour credit is triple-A. I and the world's investor's agree."