TAMPA, Fla. -- President Barack Obama says his re-election might help end the political stalemate in Washington, much like popping a blister.
In an interview with Time magazine, Obama said he expects Republicans in Congress to work more cooperatively in a second term, since his re-election would no longer be a factor.
However, he left open the possibility that that might not happen. "Where Republicans refuse to cooperate on things that I know are good for the American people, I will continue to look for ways to do it administratively and work around Congress," he said.
The president said he also wants to do a better job of explaining to the public how his policies will help the economy grow. Obama claimed he didn't do a good enough job selling Americans on the stimulus plan and the auto company bailout because he was so focused on acting to fix the economy.
Obama said he wants to focus on overhauling immigration laws and reducing the nation's dependence on foreign energy during a second term.
In a second term, he said that he would grow the economy, but not the public sector that has shed jobs in his first term. "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," Obama said.
He cast the election as one between two visions of the economy, putting a twist on the GOP refrain that the election is a referendum on his handling of the economy.
"This isn’t a matter of who is more patriotic or who is more empathetic towards people or who is nicer," the president said. "It’s a hard-headed assessment of what makes our economy grow. And the facts are on my side in this argument. The question is whether while we’re still digging ourselves out of this hole that we found ourselves in, that the facts will win the day."
Obama rejected the interviewer's contention that he had ever supported the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which paved the way for unlimited spending to enter into the political process.
"First of all, I’ve never embraced it," he said. "What I’ve said is we can’t unilaterally disarm. I make no apologies for thinking that it’s bad for our democracy when you’ve got hundreds of millions of dollars being spent by shadow groups that aren’t accountable to anybody and aren’t even disclosing."
Read the full interview here.