President Obama says he expects the new GOP-infused Congress to begin their session with political gamesmanship, but eventually get it out of their systems and get down to business.
Traveling home on Air Force One from Hawaii overnight, Mr. Obama said of the Republican leadership, "[M]y expectation, my hope is that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell will realize that there will be plenty of time to campaign for 2012 in 2012, and that our job this year is to make sure that we build on the recovery."Senate Minority Leader McConnell famously said his number one goal was to prevent Mr. Obama's re-election.
Last Sunday's political show talk centered around many changes GOPers said they'd like to see this year; chief among them is repealing President Obama's health care bill. Some Republicans hope their new majority in the House will facilitate that. "Watch what happens. As part of our pledge, we said that we would bring up a vote to repeal healthcare early. That will happen before the president's State of the Union address," Republican Congressman Fred Upton (MI) said on Fox News Sunday. The president's State of the the Union speech is expected sometime in late January.
While potential battles over the deficit and jobs get underway, some GOPers have also pledged to hold investigations on issues like Mr. Obama's stimulus program and the release of classified information on the WikiLeaks website. The president has already braced himself. "Well, I mean, I think that there's going to be politics," he said.
"That's what happens in Washington. They [the GOP] are going to play to their base for a certain period of time. But I'm pretty confident that they're going to recognize that our job is to govern and make sure that we are delivering jobs for the American people and that we're creating a competitive economy for the 21st century..." Mr. Obama and Republican leaders compromised on a large tax cut bill late in the last session of Congress. The president was also able to push through some of his other priorities like missile defense and allowing openly-gay servicemembers serve in the military.
Despite the change in leadership, Mr. Obama maintains a rosy outlook, "We started making good progress on that in the lame-duck [session], and I expect to build on that progress when I get back."