Issa 'wouldn't feel bad' if Obama reelected due to strong economy

It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for President Obama to win reelection, one of his top Republican critics said Thursday.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the tenacious chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said his top goal is to work with the administration to revive the economy. And if Obama were to win another term as a byproduct, so be it.

"I hope we can do that together," Issa said of job-creation efforts. "I probably still won't vote for him, but I certainly wouldn't feel bad if Americans were working again, and he did get another four years."

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"My goal is to strengthen the president," Issa said Thursday, contrasting with top Republicans such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who's said defeating Obama in 2012 is his top priority. "I think the last two years weakened the president, because they gave him too much money, too loosely, and without the kind of opportunity to give and take that makes America stronger."

"If the president's going to win reelection, he's going to win reelection because, together, we turned the economy in the right direction, American businesses invested, Americans went back to work and are feeling good in 2012," he added.

The rhetoric from Issa, one of the Obama administration's most dogged critics the last two years, might strike observers as strange. In his capacity as chairman of the oversight panel, Issa has planned a series of hearings taking a critical look at the administration, including Thursday's look at "Regulatory Impediments to Job Creation."

But Issa has also sought to pivot from a more critical role during the last Congress, when he served as ranking member of the committee, to now, when he faces more scrutiny as the panel's chairman. Still, a recent New Yorker profile called Issa "the man most likely to weaken" Obama going into 2012.

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