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10 week to-do list: Your ideas for Obama, Republicans

By Kristi Keck and Ed Hornick, CNN
Readers say they want to see more cooperation between President Obama and the Republican Party.
Readers say they want to see more cooperation between President Obama and the Republican Party.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • CNN readers weigh in by the thousands on to-do lists for President Obama and GOP
  • Commenters say Obama needs to rise above partisan bickering, stay out of local issues
  • Readers want the GOP to show their bipartisan colors and put their constituents first
  • CNN seeks more thoughtful suggestions for our leaders heading into midterm elections
RELATED TOPICS

(CNN) -- Strategists on both sides of the political aisle weighed in this week on what President Obama and Republicans must do before the November midterms to give their parties a boost.

The 10-week to-do lists resulted in thousands of comments and suggestions from CNN readers, ranging from constructive to highly critical.

Readers suggested Obama look for a new job and put a muzzle on Vice President Joe Biden, while commenters providing advice for the GOP recommended a muzzle for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Mouth guards aside, readers also offered up practical guidance for Obama and the GOP. Here are some of the suggestions:

1. For Obama: Govern from the center

CNN readers say they want to see Obama get behind a more bipartisan agenda. The No. 1 thing they want to see is job creation, and they don't want partisan games to get in the way.

Commenters advised Obama to not be influenced by those on the far left and instead focus on what the American public wants.

2. Tout the administration's accomplishments

Supporters of the health care legislation passed this year say they're proud of it -- and they want Obama to talk about it more. "Talk up Healthcare, because so many supported the bill!" one commenter suggested.

Strategists' advice for Obama
1. Simplify the message
2. Channel Ronald Reagan
3. Propagandize the truth
4. Go on the offense
5. Put up a fight
6. Be positive
7. Look to the future, not the past
8. Pay attention to independents
9. Be prepared for Election Day ...
10. ... but don't stop at November
Read more

Obama signed the health care bill in March after a long, emotional debate in Congress. Now that the dust has settled, backers of the bill want to hear all about it.

"Talk about what you have done, and what you would like to do, and why," another reader wrote.

3. Rise above the partisan bickering

"Quit politicking which further divides our nation," one commenter posted.

Readers say they are sick of partisan games getting in the way of action on Capitol Hill -- and they want the administration to stay out of the mudslinging.

4. Shake up the staff

Commenters are ready for some fresh faces. Even those supportive of Obama say they are ready for him to reload the strategy and bring in some new staffers.

Strategists' advice for Republicans
1. Focus on jobs, jobs, jobs
2. Become the party of solutions, not "no"
3. Don't stop thinking about tomorrow
4. Offense is the best defense
5. Offer a "Contract with a America" Part II
6. Embrace tea party support with caution
7. Avoid social issues
8. Appeal to independents
9. Channel Bill Clinton (yes, Bill Clinton)
10. Turn the Bush blame game around
Read more

5. Stay out of local issues

Readers say the want to see more presidential leadership from Obama. They want him to avoid getting involved with local issues and distractions and focus on the job at hand.

"Be a leader, be positive, plan for success, stay focused," one reader said.

1. For Republicans: Steer clear of the far right commentators

Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter are doing more harm than good for the GOP, some commenters warned.

Readers say they want Republicans to avoid accepting what's meant to be shock-jock entertainment as sound advice for the party.

2. Keep religion out of politics

"I'm a conservative person, and I'm all for people believing what they want to, but please keep it out of your politics," one commenter posted.

Readers say they want Republicans to focus on issues such as jobs and the economy instead of trying to prove who is the better Christian.

3. Be conservative, but be bipartisan

Some commenters say that while they like conservatives, not all Republicans fit the bill. Readers say they want lawmakers to stick to their conservative ideas, with an understanding that working with Democrats instead of against them will be more productive.

4. Represent your constituents, not your party's agenda

"The only thing I want to see from either party is a return to REPRESENTING THEIR CONSTITUENTS, not their party," a reader said. "When your constituents in large numbers oppose a bill, your obligation is to them."

"I'm tired of politicians being elected and then ignoring what their constituents want or don't want. Suddenly the only thing they care about is party support," the reader continued.

Commenters want their elected officials to listen to them instead of being afraid of breaking with the party.

"Show the American people that you're capable of putting them ahead of your party," one person said.

5. Tell the voters what will be different if Republicans take power

"Republicans are going to take back the House and Senate, and it will change absolutely nothing," one reader said, arguing that both parties are controlled by special interests.

Voters want to know how things would change if Republicans had the majority.

Do you have more suggestions for President Obama or lawmakers? Weigh in below.

 
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