Presidential Race
2:35 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Obama Pitches Bipartisanship Before Election

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 3:42 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

With his city picking up the pieces left by Sandy, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg used the spotlight today to make a high-profile endorsement. President Obama gets his vote for a second term. Bloomberg singled out the president's leadership on climate change.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Mr. Obama, meanwhile, resumed campaigning. He's holding rallies today in Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado while his opponent, Mitt Romney, spends the day in Virginia.

SIEGEL: With a handful of days before the election, both candidates are stressing their willingness to work across party lines. As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, Bloomberg's endorsement certainly helps Mr. Obama's bipartisan credentials.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello, Wisconsin.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: President Obama had all the trappings of commander in chief this morning as he stepped off Air Force One wearing a leather flight jacket. He'd just gotten off the telephone with governors who are wrestling with storm damage. He told the crowd of more than 2,000 in Green Bay that while Americans have been awed by the destructive power of Hurricane Sandy, they've also been inspired by the way the country has responded.

OBAMA: There are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm. There are just fellow Americans.

HORSLEY: That idea that we're all in this together, whatever our party, has been a central feature of the Obama brand ever since he burst on the national scene eight years ago. It was reinforced by Mayor Bloomberg's endorsement today, by kind words from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie yesterday, and it's amplified again in a new campaign ad in which former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who served in Republican administrations, renews his endorsement of Mr. Obama.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAMPAIGN AD)

COLIN POWELL: When he took over, we were in one of the worst recessions we had seen in recent times, close to the Depression. And I saw over the next several years, stabilization come back in the financial community. Housing is starting to pick up. The president saved the auto industry.

HORSLEY: Chrysler just reported its best October sales in five years. Consumer confidence hit a four-year high today. And tomorrow's jobs report is expected to show another month of slow but steady private sector growth. Mr. Obama told supporters in Wisconsin the economy is on the mend, though he acknowledge there's unfinished business, saying that's why he wants a second term.

OBAMA: Our fight goes on because we know this nation cannot succeed without a growing, thriving middle class and strong, sturdy ladders into the middle class.

HORSLEY: The president accused GOP rival Mitt Romney of using all his talents as a salesman to repackage standard Republican orthodoxy of tax cuts and reduced regulation as positive change. While Mr. Obama promised to compromise with politicians of any stripe who support what he calls a common sense agenda, he vowed not to back down in his battles with lawmakers for whom he says obstruction is a strategy aimed at returning to power.

OBAMA: In other words, their bet is on cynicism. But, Wisconsin, my bet is on you.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: My bet is on the decency and good sense of the American people because despite all the resistance, despite all the setbacks, we've won some great fights. And I've never lost sight of the vision we share.

HORSLEY: This, then, is Mr. Obama's closing argument heading into the final week of his often bitter campaign: an effort to reconnect with the inspirational and inclusive message that he ran on four years ago, while giving no quarter in the hard-nosed partisan fight for 2012. Scott Horsley, NPR News, traveling with the president. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.