(HILLIARD, Ohio) — “I’ve said I will work with anybody of any party to move this country forward,” President Obama told a crowd of 2,800 Friday morning in Hilliard, Ohio. “If you want to break the gridlock in Congress, you’ll vote for leaders who feel the same way whether they’re Democrat, Republican or independent.”
The notion of a Democratic president telling crowds in a crucial swing state that they should feel free to vote for a Republican congressional candidate – as long as he or she wants to break the gridlock – is an interesting one, but it highlights one of the key messages of the president’s closing argument to undecided voters, who purport to loathe how dysfunctional Washington, D.C. has become.
Vote for me, he says, and other likeminded politicians so we can all work together and get something done.
It was one of then-Sen. Obama’s selling points four years ago, and as he hits the homestretch in this tight election, the president is trying to re-ignite that bipartisan flame after four often bitterly partisan years. The campaign hopes that endorsements from former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Colin Powell (ret.) and New York City Mike Bloomberg, an independent, augments that argument.
In Springfield, Ohio, Friday afternoon the president painted his opponents in the nation’s capital not as Republican – but as agents of, and lobbyists for, the status quo.
“When the other party has been with me” to work on issues such as middle class tax cuts, he has worked with them, the president said, praising “some courageous Republican senators.”
Vice President Biden in Beloit, Wis. sounded a similar note, talking about the Democratic Governor of Delaware “who’s gotten hurt” by offering more assets to New Jersey GOP Governor Chris Christie.
“I mean, that’s how it used to work,” Biden recalled. “You remember…we used to work together when I started in public life. This is how it worked. There’s a crisis, and everybody worked together and — you know, like we did most of my career with guys like Colin Powell and Dick Lugar and (GOP Senators) Chuck Hagel, Bob Dole, Alan Simpson. … This is not a political slogan. We actually worked together where there was a crisis. And when this election is over, we need to get back to that. We got to get back to working together.”
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