To say U.S. presidents have had their ups and downs with Congress — including members of their own political parties — is a big understatement.
The current chief executive, President Barack Obama, has been criticized for taking a mostly hands-off approach to the legislative branch. Obama has avoided reaching out to Republicans and Democrats, even when pushing his own legislation, since taking office in January 2009.
That has left Obama with several legislative defeats over the years, and created some bitter feelings even when he has won the day.
Former GOP Utah Gov. Jon Hunstman, who was ambassador to China under Obama, says Obama’s Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, would take a more “hands-on” approach with lawmakers.
Romney’s time as a businessman left him “very well-schooled in how you get deals done,” Huntsman. The GOP nominee would treat his dealings with lawmakers like he did merger and acquisition negotiations while he was in the private-sector when “you go in behind closed doors” and hammer out the terms of a deal, Huntsman said.
As for his former boss, Huntsman predicted during a forum at the Brookings Institution in Washington that, should Obama win a second term, his administration would “probably re-think their congressional approach.”
Obama and Romney, for the first time during the general election campaign, will be on the same stage later on Oct. 3 (9 p.m. EST), when they face off in the first of three debates. The initial one-on-one is being called crucial because it will focus exclusively on the domestic issues that polls show are of utmost importance to likely voters, and because national polls — and in several key swing states — indicate it is a tight race.
The two will square off again on Oct. 16 in a town hall-style debate that will focus on both domestic and foreign policy issues. The final presidential debate is slated for Oct. 22, and will focus only on foreign policy issues.
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