ABC News' David Chalian Reports: In the aftermath of President Obama's health care victory without a single Republican vote, White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod still holds out hope for some bipartisan agreement on future policy proposals, but said President Obama is prepared to move forward on his big ticket agenda items with or without Republican votes.
“I haven’t given up on Republicans. I do believe that there are Republicans of good conscience who want to work together on issues, we want to continue to do that,” Axelrod told us on ABC News’ “Top Line.”
“The fact is that the healthcare bill was informed by some of the discussions that we had with Republicans in the Senate. I’m encouraged that some of the Republicans who voted against the bill already are sending out memos claiming credit for pieces of it which tells you something,” he wryly added .
Whether bipartisan agreement can be found on the next major domestic policy initiative with which Congress grapples remains to be seen. Financial regulatory reform emerged from Sen. Dodd’s Banking Committee just with Democratic support, though Chairman Dodd remains hopeful his Republican colleagues will continue to work at it with him. Axelrod made clear that invitation exists from the Obama administration too, but he sounded far from optimistic about the chances of a bipartisan financial regulatory reform package.
“We’re certainly going to invite them to participate with us,” Axelrod said of the Republicans. “There’s enormous pressure from the financial industry, huge army of lobbyists on the Hill. The Republican Party has generally been very responsive to that lobby and one hopes that some of them will break loose here and say we can’t allow the country to get into the same situation we were in the last few years because of the reckless speculation on Wall Street,” he added.
“Our goal,” Axelrod continued, “is to move the country forward. We’re willing to work with anybody who’s willing to work with us to get that done. But what we can’t do is sit still in the face of great challenges because one party has decided to sit on the sidelines,” he said.
When asked about lessons learned from the bruising partisan battles of the last year, Axelrod said “persistence” is the guiding principle.
“I think persistence, which is a hallmark of this president and everybody should recognize that by now, is the key thing. We’re going to continue on every issue to try and work with folks on the other side as well as Democrats to solve problems. Yes we had an intense debate about healthcare but from where we sit that doesn’t mean that we can’t agree on other things,” he said.
“So I think our view is to keep plugging away and ultimately I believe more and more Republicans are going to come to the conclusion that, that it is better politics to work on the problems facing this country than it is to work on the reelection process every single day,” he added.