President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 9, 2012. Facing sagging jobs numbers, President Barack Obama seeks to recast the election as a debate over tax fairness, calling for a temporary tax cut extension but just for low and middle income earners. The president�s pitch is aimed at painting Mitt Romney as a protector of the rich while ramping up questions about the Republican challenger�s own wealth. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
(CBS News) ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - We've been bringing you our conversations with the presidential candidates. We started with a week of interviews with Mitt Romney and his wife, Anne, during the Republican National Convention.
This week, we've been talking to President Barack Obama about whether he can get bipartisan support in a second term, the kind of cooperation that was lacking when Mr. Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner failed to reach agreement on the budget, an agreement that they called the "grand bargain."
President Obama sat down with Scott Pelley during his bus tour in Florida earlier this week and talked about how he would continue to work with the highly partisan political atmosphere on the Hill if elected for a second term.
In an excerpt of that interview that aired Thursday, President Obama said he feels the race is way too close to know for sure if he is re-elected, but said he is counting on the American people to send a message to Washington.
Scott Pelly: You're calling for cooperation in Washington, but if you're re-elected, John Boehner will still be Speaker of the House. Paul Ryan will still be the chairman of the Budget Committee. How will anything change in Washington if all the players the same, including yourself?
President Barack Obama: Well, first of all, we don't know what's going to happen in re-election, in my election or anybody else's, so we don't want to take that for granted. But let's assume that I'm re-elected and the House Republicans are still in charge. I think it's important to point out that even with all the back-and-forth that's taken place this year, we've got a lot of stuff done. We have cut a trillion dollars from our deficit because of an agreement that I made with Speaker Boehner that got passed and got signed. My sense is that the message that will be sent by voters this time out -- if I'm reelected -- will be: "We're not satisfied with the pace of progress, but we do think that the ideas the president has presented are the right ones. And we'd like to see greater cooperation." I don't expect that I will get 100 percent cooperation. But 50 percent, 60 percent wouldn't be bad.
Pelley: But if you win, will you be willing to compromise? What are you willing to give in order to complete this grand bargain on the budget that had failed?
President Obama: Keep in mind that the trillion dollars that we cut, you know, was a painful exercise. There are some programs that are worthy, but we just can't afford right now. There's still are still programs that don't work. There are still ways that we can make it leaner and more efficient. So I'm, you know, more than happy to work with the Republicans. What I've said that in reducing our deficits, we can make sure we cut two-and-a-half dollars for ever dollar increase in revenue.
Pelley: That's the deal they turned down, Mr. President.
President Obama: That's part of what this election's about.
Pelley: Do you think there's a reasonable chance that you could lose this election?
President Obama: Oh, absolutely. I mean this is going to be a close race. And I'm running in in an environment where the economy isn't where it needs to be. I take nothing for granted. I'm going to be working my tail off, trying to present a clear choice to the American people. And the one thing I hope I'm able to communicate in this campaign is what my values are, what my plan is, but also that I'm not tired. That I am as eager every morning and as determined as I've ever been to work as hard as I can on behalf of the American people.
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