W.H. adviser: Obama will do "better" working with Congress in second term


(CBS News) Transitioning out of a first term marked by unprecedented Washington gridlock, President Obama and his administration plan to do "a better job" in the next four years of doing "all we can" to negotiate with Congress on the most pressing issues, like deficit reduction and gun control, White House senior adviser David Plouffe said today on "Face the Nation."

"Yes, we have some political divisions in this country," Plouffe acknowledged, but added, "there's vast support out there for balanced deficit reaction, investments in education and manufacturing, immigration reform, gun safety. So on the issues the president intends to really push and focus on, there's massive support in the country, even amongst Republicans.

"...That's why we're going to do a better job in the second term of, we're going to do all we can to work with Congress and negotiate, to make sure the American people are more connected to what's going on here," he continued.

Plouffe nodded to one improvement already: Republicans agreeing to go along with a three-month extension on the debt ceiling increase. Though he conceded that "three months is no way to run an economy or a railroad or anything else," he said it's "helpful that they have now dropped their demand, that the only way they're going to pay the country's bills that they themselves racked up would be to extract some concessions."

Arguing that the U.S. economy is "poised to really grow," Plouffe said the American people "can't have Washington be a hindrance to that." He suggested returning to a "more regular order in Congress so we're not careening crisis-to-crisis. Congress ought to work together and come up with a long-term fiscal plan."

Though he said the president's priority in his second term remains growing the economy and the middle class in particular, Plouffe also cited new regulations to help thwart escalating gun violence in the country as something Mr. Obama thinks he can get through Congress.

"It's going to be very, very hard; obviously this is a tough issue," Plouffe said. "But I think if you look at the American people on things like assault weapons, high capacity ammunition clips, universal background checks, school safety, mental health - huge consensus on these issues. We're going to have to spend a lot of time on it.

"But I think post-Newtown, things have changed a little bit," he continued. "You see members of both parties thinking about this a little bit differently. And at the very least, I think the American people are going to want us to have a debate and a vote on these things. And I'm convinced that, yeah, are there 60 senators and 218 House members for some of these proposals? I think there are."

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    Lindsey Boerma is senior video producer for CBSNews.com.