Obama touts highway bill as sign of 'modest cooperation' from Congress

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The passage of the transportation has been used by members of both parties to tout bipartisanship in Congress after a prolonged period of gridlock.

"I think the Senate the last couple of months is beginning to operate like it used to," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said during a news conference as negotiations on the transportation bill picked up steam.

"There's been some bipartisan stuff going on here," his counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said separately at the time.

Obama told his audience in Ohio on Monday that Republicans in Congress might be freed to agree with him more if he is reelected to a second term.

"If I'm elected, not only do I think that we'll be able to continue the progress that we've made over the last three and a half years, I actually think that a lot of Republicans, since this will be my last election, they will not be as interested in just beating me and maybe they'll be more interested in moving the country forward," he said. "That's my hope."

—This story was updated with new information at 3:49 p.m.