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Expert: Republican Party Has To Look In The Mirror, Adapt To Changing Electorate

Unless GOP Becomes Inclusionary It'll Have Hard Time Winning White House
House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama in the Cabinet Room at the White House - Washington, DC - Jul 11, 2011 (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama in the Cabinet Room at the White House – Washington, DC – Jul 11, 2011 (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Will it be four more years of partisanship or will both sides find a path to compromise?

And will the Republican party see the outcome of campaign 2012 as a mandate to “re-image” itself?

President Barack Obama said he got the message.

“In the coming weeks and months I am looking forward to reaching out to leaders of both parties and meeting the challenges we can only solve together,” Obama said Wednesday, just hours after winning re-election.

But he question for many Washington insiders is whether the president, often seen as aloof by members of Congress, will walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

“Is he going to be able to grow and expand who he is and reach out to people and, quite frankly, make some friends?” Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward said.

The post-election scene in Washington is identical to the pre-election scene. A Democratic president and a Republican House of Representatives, but the public wants the dysfunction and gridlock to stop, so both sides will have to change if anything is to get done.

“I think it is a mandate for compromise. It’s a mandate for people coming together,” former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm said.

House Speaker John Boehner seemed to have gotten the message Wednesday as well.

“I’m not suggesting we compromise on our principles, but I am suggesting we commit ourselves to create an atmosphere where we can see common ground, where it exists and seize it,” Boehner said.

Experts say Republcians should see the outcome of campaign 2012 as a wake-up call — a mandate to be more inclusive, less doctrinaire, and to reach out to a more diverse group of people.

“We have to become a party of inclusion , not outreach. We have to recognize that if you’re not going to be competitive with Latinos, with African Americans, with Native Americans, with Asian Americans, you’re not going to be a successful party,” Newt Gingrich said.

“I think the Republican party, itself, clearly there has to be some concern about the brand,” Marist pollster Lee Miringoff said. “I think they have to broaden their appeal. They’re not reaching out to young people, to women, to Latinos in the kind of numbers they’re going to need to in order to succeed when it comes to a race for the White House.”

The president and congressional leaders don’t have much time to forge a new working relationship. The so-called “fiscal cliff”– a huge package of tax hikes and spending cuts– is scheduled to take effect within months unless a new deal can be crafted.

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