Tags: Barack Obama | james baker | bush | obama | gop | control

James Baker's Advice to Obama, GOP: Cooperate

By    |   Sunday, 02 November 2014 04:19 PM

President Barack Obama will be able to get things done if Republicans take over the Senate in Tuesday's election, but it will take a lot of work and cooperation, said James Baker, who served as chief of staff for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, on Sunday.

"It can be done, but it takes work," Baker told CNN "State of the Union" host Candy Crowley Sunday, pointing out that Bush had an all-Democratic Congress and Reagan had a Democratic House during his entire presidency. Further, he said, former President Bill Clinton had a Republican House.

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All three presidents were still able to get a lot of work through, Baker said, but to do that, "you have to be willing to schmooze and make a concentrated and concerted effort to achieve compromise with the other side."

Baker does believe that Republicans have an "excellent" chance of taking over the Senate, but there's always the unknown to be concerned about.

"A lot will depend on turnout," he said. "If you look at the most recent polls, things seem to be trending in our direction. But it's by no means certain that we will take control...until you know what the turnout's going to be, you really don't know."

But if Republicans win both congressional houses, there will be a price to pay in the 2016 election if they don't stick to the business of running the country, Baker, who has also served as secretary of state and treasury secretary in past administrations.

"They need to pass legislation, come together and pass legislation that they can then present to the president and put the onus on him to either sign it or veto it," said Baker. "So what's really important in taking the Senate is in the aftermath of that, to accomplish, and to get things done."

Baker also took on a statement made by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, in which the Republican said his brand "sucks."

"No, I don't think the GOP brand sucks at all, but I haven't — I have never felt that," said Baker. "I would simply refer you back to history and you look at what the Republican party has done in the past history of the United States, I don't think that you can say that our brand sucks."

But he does think there are some things the party can do better, such as coming together and stopping the "fratricide" that has occurred in the past.

Finally, Baker, who remains close to the Bush family, told Crowley he does not know if former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush plans to seek the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2016, but he hopes he does.

"He would make an extraordinarily fine president," said Baker. "He's a very, very capable young man. He's had excellent experience as governor of Florida, and I don't know whether he's going to run or not and I rather suspect that right now, he's not entirely sure."

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President Barack Obama will be able to get things done if Republicans take over the Senate in Tuesday's election, but it will take a lot of work and cooperation, said James Baker, who was chief of staff for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, on Sunday.
james baker, bush, obama, gop, control, cooperate
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2014-19-02
Sunday, 02 November 2014 04:19 PM
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