WASHINGTON — Whatever the outcome of Tuesday's election, it's time to put aside partisanship, President Barack Obama is telling Democrats and Republicans.
Yet his appeal for unity includes a jab at GOP leaders in the House and Senate for comments that the president said were troubling.
House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio "actually said that 'this is not the time for compromise,' " Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address. The president added that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky "said his main goal after this election is simply to win the next one."
The address was released shortly before Obama left Washington for a day of campaigning in Philadelphia, Bridgeport, Conn., and Chicago. The three states have competitive House and Senate races, as does Ohio, where the president will hold a rally Sunday in Cleveland.
"I know that we're in the final days of a campaign," Obama said in his weekly address. "So it's not surprising that we're seeing this heated rhetoric. That's politics. But when the ballots are cast and the voting is done, we need to put this kind of partisanship aside — win, lose or draw."
Voters angry and anxious about the economy and joblessness are expected to take their frustrations out on Democratic lawmakers Tuesday, possibly putting Republicans back in control of the House and maybe even the Senate.
Boehner's comment that "this is not a time for compromise" came during a recent interview on a conservative radio show. He was trying to rebut a GOP senator's suggestion that repealing the health care law was not in the party's best interest. Republicans have pledged to try to repeal the health care law or undo important parts of it.
In the same interview, Boehner said he'd welcome Obama's involvement in working toward Republican goals.
McConnell expressed his desire to have a Republican in the White House. He said in a published interview that the "single most important thing" Republicans want is to help Obama become a one-term president.
Tuesday's results aside, Obama said both parties should be able to agree on steps to promote economic growth and hiring.
"Whatever the outcome on Tuesday, we need to come together to help put people who are still looking for jobs back to work," he said.
In the weekly Republican address, Boehner said Obama has failed to deliver the change he promised. The man who likely would become House speaker if Republicans win control of the chamber also promoted party pledges to cut spending and keep taxes at current levels.
"This is a new way forward that hasn't been tried in Washington yet," Boehner said. "It's a break from the direction in which President Obama has taken our country. And frankly, it's also a break from the direction in which Republicans were headed when Americans last entrusted us with the reins of government. The American people are in charge, and they deserve nothing less."
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