Obama: Republican voters ‘often agree with me’

Nicholas Ballasy Senior Video Reporter
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President Barack Obama said Republican voters “often agree with me,” insisting that his “approach” at governing has been “consistent” from the start of his term.

Obama added that he has proposed policies which “used to be embraced” by the Republican Party.

Obama was asked, “So how are you going to talk to Republicans differently if you are reelected?”

“Republican voters, if you ask them about my particular policy positions, often agree with me. So there’s a difference between Republicans in Washington and Republican and Republican-leaning voters around the country,” Obama said in a Parade Magazine reader question-and-answer session published on Friday.

“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, and the positions we’re taking are well within what used to be considered bipartisan centrist approaches.”

Obama was then asked, “Are you saying there’ll be a difference in how you approach Republicans, or their attitude will be different if you get reelected?”

“My approach has been pretty consistent from the start; I’ve often proposed ways to solve our problems that used to be embraced by Republicans. There’s no better example than the health care bill, which was designed originally by the now Republican standard-bearer and is working pretty well in Massachusetts,” he responded.

“The Recovery Act that helped us avoid a depression, a third of it was tax cuts. 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.'”

Obama said the Republican Party has changed but he has not.

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

“In fact, a lot of the things I’ve done are things that Mr. Romney, when he was governor of Massachusetts, seemed to promote. … What’s absolutely true is that we’ve had to take some emergency steps, like saving the auto industry, that weren’t free, that weren’t popular, but were the right thing to do.”

Obama also called the health care reform law one of his “proudest achievements” in office.

“What I want to do is make sure we don’t raise taxes on people making $250,000 a year or less [but] reduce our deficit by asking people like us, Michelle and me—who can afford it—to [do] a little bit more,” Obama said.

“Health care is one of my proudest achievements, and hopefully, for families who are looking for more work, once we get health care fully implemented, they won’t have to fear that they’re going to lose their home if they get sick.”

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