US President Barack Obama called Saturday for Democrats and Republicans to cooperate in Congress, saying they should put aside personal ambition to tackle important issues together.

"We weren't sent here to wage perpetual political campaigns against each other," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

"We were sent here to serve the American people. And they deserve better than gridlock and games."

Obama cited a threat issued earlier this week by freshmanRepublican Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who said he would try to block the president’s judicial nominees this year.

Lee was outraged by Obama's recent recess appointment of Richard Cordray as head of a new consumer watchdog agency. The senator and some other Republicans claimed the president disregarded the Senate’s advice-and-consent role in making this move.

Obama took issue with this approach, arguing that "one senator gumming up the works for the whole country is certainly not what our founding fathers envisioned."

He said neither of the two parties has been blameless in using obstructionist tactics, and it was time to put an end to them.

"I'm asking Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, to stop this kind of behavior by passing a rule that allows all judicial and public service nominations a simple up-or-down vote within 90 days," he said.