DES MOINES, Iowa Republican Mitt Romney sprinted through battleground states on Sunday with a renewed pledge to bring a spirit of cooperation to Washington.
Hes also promising to pursue an agenda that would alienate most Democrats on his first day in office.
In the first of four campaign stops, Romney reminded Iowa voters that on Day One, he would begin to repeal President Barack Obamas signature health care law. He also wants to weaken labor unions and overturn Democrat-backed legislation that overhauled the nations financial system.
But the polarizing priorities are not his focus at swelling rallies in the presidential contests final hours.
With an eye toward undecided voters women and independents in particular Romney is vowing to work closely with good Democrats if elected. The pledge of bipartisan cooperation fueled Obamas candidacy four years ago and remains a key piece of the incumbents message. But for Romney, the bipartisan appeal became the focus of his closing argument only in recent weeks.
On Nov. 6 were going to come together for a better future. On Nov. 7, well get to work, Romney told an Iowa crowd estimated at 4,400. You reach across the street to that neighbor with the other yard sign. And Ill reach across the aisle to people in the other party, people in good faith, because this time demands bringing America together.
But beyond recent campaign trail speeches, there is little sign that Romney has laid the groundwork to bridge the partisan divide in Washington.
He offers a distinctly partisan tone in a new ad running in North Dakota this week, urging voters there to elect Senate candidate Rick Berg to stop the liberal Reid-Pelosi agenda.
And Romney had little, if any, communication with Democratic leaders in recent days as he monitored the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. He reached out to East Coast governors for updates, but only Republicans.
And his campaign would not say whether Romneys transition team, which has already begun to craft legislation and executive orders designed for release on his first day in office, has reached out to Democrats on Capitol Hill.
I dont think theres been any outreach, adviser Kevin Madden said aboard Romneys campaign plane Sunday. Once we win, I think the governor is going to do his best to work with as many folks as possible.
Romneys Day One agenda includes a plan he dubbed the Down Payment on Fiscal Sanity Act to cut nondiscretionary spending by 5 percent. He also promises to issue what he calls An Order to Pave the Way to End Obamacare and an Order to Empower American Businesses and Workers that would reverse policies that tilt the playing field in favor of organized labor, according to Romneys website.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has already vowed to block what he calls Romneys tea party agenda.
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry told The Associated Press on Sunday that Romneys promise to begin to repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, on Day One is an invitation to total gridlock.
Kerry also questioned Romneys record of bipartisanship in Massachusetts, where Kerry served as a senator while Romney was governor. He said he could count on a single hand his interactions with Romney in those years.
The mythology of his record in Massachusetts is extraordinary, Kerry said.
Asked about Reids comments, Romney surrogate Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said Sunday on CNN that to have that kind of response from the Democrats in Congress is discouraging, but, look, I think at the end of the day even Harry Reid and even the Democrats who might take that point of view at this point are going to say weve got to solve these problems.
Indeed, Obama, too, offered a cooperative tone while campaigning in New Hampshire on Sunday.
As long as Im president I will work with anybody of any party to move this country forward, Obama said. If you want to break the gridlock in Congress, youll vote for leaders who feel the same way, whether they are Democrats or Republicans or independents.
At a rally in Cleveland later in the day, Romney said that only he can work with Congress.
Its not only Republicans that he refused to listen to. He also refused to listen to independent voices, he said of Obama, without elaborating.
Romney continued: You hoped President Obama would live up to his promise to bring people together to solve big problems. But he hasnt. And I will.