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USA Today - Opposing View: 'Unite the American People'

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USA Today - Opposing View: 'Unite the American People'

By Barack Obama

The only way to end the petty partisanship that has consumed Washington for so long and make a difference in the lives of ordinary Americans is by bringing Republicans and Democrats together to get things done. That's what I've done throughout over a decade in public office.

In Illinois, I reached across the aisle to put a $100 million tax cuts into the pockets of hard-working families. I worked with leaders in both parties to double the number of charter schools in Chicago. And I opposed members of my party to pass the first major ethics reform in 25 years, ending the outrage of politicians pocketing campaign contributions for personal use.

Over the past few years, I've bridged the partisan divide in the Senate to bring about change. With Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., I fought to keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands. With Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., I helped end the abuse of no-bid contracts and made government more open by putting every contract, every grant and every dime of federal spending online. With senators from both parties, I proposed a plan to double fuel-efficiency standards and end our dependence on oil.

And I reached across the aisle to help stop money and lobbyists from drowning out the voices of the American people in Washington. I proposed requiring lobbyists to disclose who they're raising campaign money from, and who in Congress they're funneling it to. Leaders in my own party opposed the idea — one even rebuked me on the Senate floor. But I stood by it not because it was politically popular, but because it was right, and we passed the most far-reaching lobbying reform since Watergate.

My opponent speaks of bipartisanship. But you cannot claim independence from your party when you vote with George W. Bush 90% of the time. You cannot end partisan divisions when you embrace the Karl Rove politics that's polarized this country for so long. It's time to reject the cynicism that treats bipartisanship as little more than a slogan, and unite the American people to bring about the change our country needs.


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