The candidates on red/blue divide

(CBS News) A lot of folks wonder why the country is so evenly divided, and they've grown tired of that division stopping progress in Washington.

CBS News wondered how the candidates themselves would explain the sharp, narrow line between Republican red and Democratic blue.

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Scott Pelley: Why have we become a red country and a blue country?

President Obama: We have gone through a very difficult passage and that means that sometimes politics gets a little more heated, passions rise. And, I think what Americans are looking for -- it's not so much that they're divided ideologically -- I think they just wanna see us make progress and do what works.

Pelley: How will anything change in Washington if all the players the same, including yourself?

President Obama: 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. So 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'll get a 100 percent cooperation but 50 percent, 60 percent wouldn't be bad.

Pelley: Why do you think we've become a red country and a blue country?

Mitt Romney: Well, I think there's a lot of divisiveness in the political process. But I think what's happened is that over the last little while there have become a series of divisions on personal attacks and character assassination that I think are unfortunate and draw people into a level of emotion that's really disappointing and disheartening. I want to bring Americans together. I recognize that Americans united are able to accomplish almost anything. I know when I get elected in Washington, I'm not likely to have a super majority Republican House and Senate. That's not likely. I'm going to have to work with people on both sides of the aisle. I've done that. I will do everything in my power to get America strong again. But I can only do that if I'm willing to work with people on both sides of the aisle, not just my own.

  • Scott Pelley

    Correspondent, "60 Minutes"