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Obama: Compromise or 'political conquest'?

In a magazine interview, President Obama says Democrats are more willing to compromise than Republicans. But Rep. Paul Ryan, a leader among young Republicans, says Obama wants 'to fight us every step of the way politically.”

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U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who chairs the House Budget Committee, was on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday. He says President Obama is "looking to go farther to the left, and he wants to fight us every step of the way politically.”

William B. Plowman/REUTERS

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As he moves into his second term, President Obama says he’s going to spend more time communicating directly with the American people – something he acknowledges having done too little of during his first term – while working to present his administration and most congressional Democrats as willing to compromise on important issues.

“I've been spending a lot of time just thinking about how do I communicate more effectively with the American people?” Mr. Obama said in an interview with the New Republic magazine. “How do I try to bridge some of the divides that are longstanding in our culture? How do I project a sense of confidence in our future at a time when people are feeling anxious?”

Obama acknowledges that Democrats have “got a lot of warts, and some of the bad habits here in Washington when it comes to lobbyists and money and access…”

“But when it comes to certain positions on issues, when it comes to trying to do what's best for the country, when it comes to really trying to make decisions based on fact as opposed to ideology, when it comes to being willing to compromise, the Democrats, not just here in this White House, but I would say in Congress also, have shown themselves consistently to be willing to do tough things even when it's not convenient, because it's the right thing to do,” he continued. “And we haven't seen that same kind of attitude on the other side.”

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