President Obama promises in a major new interview that Americans weary of partisan gridlock that Washington will be much more compromise-friendly if he wins a second term in the White House.
In an interview with the Associated Press published Saturday, Obama says Republicans hell-bent on shutting down his agenda will be more willing to play ball if he’s re-elected.
He said two changes — the facts that “the American people will have voted,” and that Republicans will no longer need to be focused on beating him — could lead to better conditions for deal-making.
If Republicans are willing, Obama said, “I’m prepared to make a whole range of compromises” that could even rankle his own party. But he did not get specific.
Obama painted a picture of the GOP that’s very different from the party in control of the House today. On the campaign trail, Obama has made Republican intransigence a central theme, especially after House Budget Committee leader Paul Ryan joined Mitt Romney’s ticket.
The president does not cast his opponents as the type of Republicans who are willing to compromise. On issues from abortion to taxes, Obama told the AP Romney has taken “extreme positions” that voters must assume will be part of his legislative agenda. The interview was conducted Thursday, one day before Romney made a birth certificate joke on the campaign trail, a move Obama’s campaign said shows Romney has “embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them.”
Obama told the AP Romney owns the positions he’s espoused, even if he personally doesn’t agree with them.
“I can’t speak to Gov. Romney’s motivations,” he said. “What I can say is that he has signed up for positions, extreme positions, that are very consistent with positions that a number of House Republicans have taken. And whether he actually believes in those or not, I have no doubt that he would carry forward some of the things that he’s talked about.”
In a statement, the Romney campaign didn’t respond to Obama’s accusation of extremism, focusing instead on Obama’s continuing view that the middle class recovery still hasn’t come, a line he repeated in the AP interview.
“President Obama concedes that ‘we aren’t where we need to be,’” Romney spokesperson Ryan Williams said. “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan agree. The American people know they aren’t better off than they were four years ago.”
Read the rest of the AP interview here.