President Barack Obama said in an interview Monday that the Republican party would have to overcome an internal war if he were reelected, but expressed hope that the partisan gridlock in Washington could come to an end.
"There are a whole range of issues I think where we can actually bring the country together with a non-ideological agenda," Obama said in a pre-taped interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"The question’s going to be, how do Republicans react post-election?" he continued. "Because there’s going to be a war going on inside that party. It just hasn’t broken up. It’s been unified in opposition to me."
Obama has blamed the slow economic recovery during his first term on the obstructionist agenda of congressional Republicans, who have blocked many of the president's proposals. He has repeatedly argued that the House GOP has waged ideological warfare over historically bipartisan issues. Republicans have countered that the president is fundamentally unwilling to compromise.
Asked by host Joe Scarborough what would be different if, in a second term, Obama was once again dealing with a Republican majority in the House, the president expressed more optimism that Democrats and Republicans would come together to tackle the debt and deficit.
"I truly believe that if we can get the deficit and debt issues solved, which I believe we can get done in the lame-duck or in the immediate aftermath of the lame-duck, then that clears away a lot of the ideological underbrush," he said. "And then now we can start looking at a whole bunch of other issues that, as I said, historically have not been that ideological."
Still, Obama seems prepared for the possibility that if he is reelected, Republicans in Congress might not be willing to cooperate. In an interview with Time magazine, the president said he would be willing to "look for ways to do [things] administratively and work around Congress."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who infamously stated before the 2010 midterm elections that the "single most important thing" for Republicans would be to ensure that Obama be a one-term president, recently told The Huffington Post that cooperation in a second Obama term would require that the president have "an epiphany."
"The question for him is, 'Do I go to the middle and meet these guys halfway, like Reagan and Clinton did, or do I just double down on the left and we throw things at each other for four years?" McConnell said.