Ending Gridlock? Talks and Leadership, Says Romney; ‘You’ve Got to Say No,’ Says Obama

By Susan Jones | October 4, 2012 | 6:51 AM EDT

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney participate in the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama has complained about congressional gridlock since Republicans took control of the House in the 2010 midterm election.

So what would Obama – and Gov.  Mitt Romney – do about the “paralysis” resulting from partisan gridlock?

Romney, responding first to the question, said on the day after he’s elected, “I’ll sit down with leaders -- the Democratic leaders, as well as Republican leaders, and continue -- as we did in my state -- we met every Monday for a couple hours, talked about the issues and the challenges in the -- in the -- in our state in that case.

“We have to work on a collaborative basis, not because we're going to compromise our principle, but because there's common ground.”

Romney said the nation needs leadership – “leadership in Washington that will actually bring people together and get the job done and could not care less if -- if it's a Republican or a Democrat. I've done it before. I'll do it again,” he insisted.

‘Going to have a busy first day’

Obama, in his response, mocked Romney: “Well, first of all, I think Governor Romney's going to have a busy first day, because he's also going to repeal Obamacare, which will not be very popular among Democrats as you're sitting down with them.”

The remark drew laughter.

Obama said his approach has been, “I will take ideas from anybody, Democrat or Republican, as long as they're advancing the cause of making middle-class families stronger and giving ladders of opportunity to the middle class.”

“That's how we cut taxes for middle- class families and small businesses. That's how we cut a trillion dollars of spending that wasn't advancing that cause. That's how we signed three trade deals into law that are helping us to double our exports and sell more American products around the world. That's how we repealed "don't ask/don't tell." That's how we ended the war in Iraq, as I promised, and that's how we're going to wind down the war in Afghanistan. That's how we went after Al Qaida and bin Laden.”

Obama admitted there has been “progress,” even with Republicans in control of the House:

“But ultimately, part of being principled, part of being a leader is, (a) being able to describe exactly what it is that you intend to do, not just saying, ‘I'll sit down,’ but you have to have a plan.

“Number two, what's important is occasionally you've got to say no, to -- to -- to folks both in your own party and in the other party. And, you know, yes, have we had some fights between me and the Republicans when -- when they fought back against us reining in the excesses of Wall Street? Absolutely, because that was a fight that needed to be had.

“When -- when we were fighting about whether or not we were going to make sure that Americans had more security with their health insurance and they said no, yes, that was a fight that we needed to have.”

Obama ended with a dig at Romney: “And I've got to tell you, Governor Romney, when it comes to his own party during the course of this campaign, has not displayed that willingness to say no to some of the more extreme parts of his party.”