(CHICAGO) — After four years of trying and, by his own admission, failing to change the nature of politics in Washington, President Obama Tuesday night vowed in a second term to forge bipartisan compromise in a way a large majority of Americans desire.
The president, who took the stage shortly after receiving a personal concession from Republican nominee Mitt Romney, said he would demonstrate his commitment by “sitting down” with Romney in the weeks ahead. It would be a significant — if only symbolic — step at bringing Democrats and Republicans together after a rancorous campaign.
“When we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won’t change after tonight. And it shouldn’t,” Obama said. “But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future.”
“By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock, resolve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward,” he continued. “But that common bond is where we must begin.”
“Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual,” Obama said. “You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours.”
Obama, who has not met with congressional Republican leaders since May, said he was also “looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties” in the “coming weeks and months.”
After the electoral smoke clears, both parties face the looming specter of steep, across-the-board tax hikes and deep spending cuts that will automatically take effect in 54 days if a deficit reduction deal is not reached.
“The American people re-elected the president, and re-elected our majority in the House,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement Tuesday night. “If there is a mandate, it is a mandate for both parties to find common ground and take steps together to help our economy grow and create jobs, which is critical to solving our debt.”
And in what is perhaps an ode to the new dynamic in the wake of a grueling campaign, Romney live-streamed the president’s acceptance speech and remarks about bipartisanship at MittRomney.com.
WATCH PRESIDENT OBAMA’S FULL ACCEPTANCE SPEECH:
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