Obama: GOP voters ‘often agree with me,’ split from party leaders

President Obama said he thinks many Republican voters agree with his policies, despite strong opposition from Republican lawmakers in Washington, and predicted that after November he would be better able to work with GOP leaders.

"Republican voters, if you ask them about my particular policy positions, often agree with me," said Obama, in a new interview to be published Sunday in Parade magazine. "So there’s a difference between Republicans in Washington and Republican and Republican-leaning voters around the country."

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The president said most of the positions taken by his administration have earned bipartisan support in the past, naming his signature healthcare reform legislation as an example. He said he expected to reach out to Republican voters to push party leaders to work with him in a second term. 

"I think that after this election, we’ll be in a position to once again reach out to Republicans and say that the American people have rendered a judgment," Obama said, assuming a November victory. "My hope is that the Republican Party, post election, steps back and says, “Now that we’re not so worried about beating the president, maybe we should spend a little time focusing on solving the problems."

Over the past year, Obama has often blasted Congress, in particular House Republicans, for failing to work with him on legislation or not moving quickly on proposals.

The president also went after his GOP opponent Mitt Romney by pointing out similarities between his policies and those implemented by the former Massachusetts governor. 

Obama tied his healthcare reform law to the GOP presidential nominee, saying it "was designed originally by the now Republican standard-bearer and is working pretty well in Massachusetts."

"In fact, a lot of the things I’ve done are things that Mr. Romney, when he was governor of Massachusetts, seemed to promote," Obama added.

Most Republicans are strong critics of Obama's healthcare reform legislation, which they mockingly refer to as "ObamaCare," and Romney is campaigning on a promise to repeal it as president. But as governor of Massachusetts, Romney passed similar legislation in his state. Democrats have called Romney's plan a model for the president’s own law, and Romney’s GOP primary opponents said his work passing the Massachusetts law would make him a weak advocate against Obama’s healthcare reforms. 

Romney, though, maintains that his bill was designed for the specific needs of his state and was never meant to be implemented nationally.

"When you look at the policies I’ve promoted, they used to be considered bipartisan, mainstream ideas," said Obama. "What’s changed is not me. What’s changed is where the Republican Party’s gone."


The Romney campaign pushed back on Obama's claim to bipartisan appeal.

“President Obama’s big government policies have devastated the middle class," Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement. "And over the past three and half years under his leadership all we have seen is skyrocketing debt, rising energy prices, and record high unemployment. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike have rejected the President’s partisan, liberal agenda that has failed to get our economy back on track, and for the president to suggest otherwise serves as another reminder of just how out of touch President Obama is with voters across the country.”

Updated at 2:36 p.m.


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