For Americans weary of the acrimonious partisan gridlock in Washington, President Obama has a rosy message of hope and change: reelect me in November and the stalemate will end.
“My expectation is that there will be some popping of the blister after this election, because it will have been such a stark choice,” Obama told TIME Magazine in a newly published interview.
Obama, who has campaigned as a warrior president battling an recalcitrant Congress, is framing the race against Mitt Romney as a high-stakes referendum on two divergent economic philosophies.
And he says he believes the outcome — a victory for him — will yield a spirit of bipartisanship and compromise that has proven elusive before.
“I do think that should I be fortunate enough to have another four years, the American people will have made a decision. And, hopefully, that will impact how Republicans think about these problems,” he told TIME.
“And I believe that in a second term where [Republican Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell’s imperative of making me a one-term President is no longer relevant, they recognize what the American people are looking for is for us to get things done,” he said.
Republicans responded to the interview by accusing Obama of blowing hot air.
“Just last night, [GOP vice presidential nominee] Paul Ryan clearly communicated that the problem with the Obama Administration is a lack of leadership in the White House, not a lack of empty political rhetoric,” said Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams.
“But President Obama believes that he hasn’t communicated enough and would use a second term to focus on becoming a better storyteller. America doesn’t need a storyteller-in-chief,” he said.
Williams mockingly referred to Obama’s past statements that one of his biggest first-term shortcomings was “putting policy over storytelling” and not effectively selling the American people on his ideas.
Obama told TIME that his economic plan for boosting the middle class is “a story that I’m doing my best to tell during the campaign.”
“That’s a story that I will continue to try to tell, if I’m fortunate enough to have a second term, in inaugurations, in States of the Union,” he said. “I want to make sure that people understand that I’ve got a focus on growing this economy, not growing the public sector, but doing enough to ensure that we’ve got the best workers in the world, we’ve got the best technology in the world, and we’re competitive in the 21st century.”