President Obama said he is hopeful that Republicans in Congress will be more willing to compromise if he is reelected.
“I do think that should I be fortunate enough to have another four years, the American people will have made a decision,” Obama said in an interview with Time magazine released Thursday. “And hopefully, that will impact how Republicans think about these problems. I believe that in a second term, where [Sen.] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team McConnell says he made 'inadvertent omission' in voting remarks amid backlash These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 MORE's [R-Ky.] imperative of making me a one-term president is no longer relevant, they recognize what the American people are looking for is for us to get things done.”
Lawmakers on both sides have made similar arguments, conceding that gridlock in Washington was unlikely to dissipate during an election year and that it would be time to reassess once voters have their say in the fall.
Obama also took aim at Republican vice presidential hopeful Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection MORE’s (R-Wis.) Medicare proposal, which has surprisingly dominated discourse on the campaign trail in recent weeks.
The budget Ryan authored would allow Medicare beneficiaries to choose between traditional Medicare and federal subsidies with which to buy private insurance. Republicans call the reform a “premium support” system, while Democrats have labeled it a “voucher program” that will leave seniors taking out-of-pocket costs for top-line medical care.
Obama said Ryan’s proposal is something “that I won’t do.”
“I'm prepared to look at reforms in Medicaid,” he said. “I'm prepared to look at smart reforms on Medicare. But there are things that I won't do, and this is part of the debate we're having in this election. I do not think it is a good idea to set up Medicare as a voucher system in which seniors are spending up to $6,000 more out of pocket. That was the original proposal Congressman Ryan put forward. And there is still a strong impulse, I think, among some Republicans for that kind of approach.”
In the Time interview, the president also addressed his previous comment that the biggest mistake of his first term was that he didn’t tell his “story to the American people better.” Republicans have seized on the remark, accusing the president of putting a premium on style rather than substance.
“What I meant by that is that we were in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime crisis, so we had to just do stuff fast. And sometimes it wasn't popular,” Obama said. “And we didn't have the luxury of six months to explain exactly what we were doing with the Recovery Act, which was basically a jobs act and making-sure-middle-class-families-didn't-fall-into-poverty act.
“And there were all kinds of things we could do to have explained that effectively, but we didn't have time. The auto bailout — now a lot of people are coming around and saying that was the right thing to do. But at the time, I think it polled at 10 percent. And we didn't have time to worry about that.”
The Romney campaign issued a response to the interview through spokesman Ryan Williams.
“Just last night, Paul Ryan clearly communicated that the problem with the Obama Administration is a lack of leadership in the White House, not a lack of empty political rhetoric. But President Obama believes that he hasn’t communicated enough and would use a second term to focus on becoming a better storyteller. America doesn’t need a storyteller-in-chief. We need a leader who will work to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and turn around our economy,” Williams said.
Updated at 11:55 a.m.