Obama seeks Romney's help on government reform

Charles Dharapak/AP

President Obama at his postelection press conference on Wednesday reiterated his desire to meet with defeated Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney -- in ways, it turns out, that touch directly on federal management.

In answer to a question, Obama praised Romney’s experience rescuing the 2002 winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, saying he would like to benefit from Romney’s thinking on “how can we make the federal government more customer friendly, how can we make sure that we’re consolidating programs that are duplicative, how can we eliminate additional waste.” Romney also might help on issues of jobs and economic growth to benefit the middle class, the president said.

No particular assignment has been discussed for the former Massachusetts governor, who during the campaign hinted that he had ambitious plans to eliminate whole programs and agencies and, more broadly, criticized Obama’s approach as “trickle-down government.”

During a closed-door fundraiser in April, reporters overheard Romney tell donors the Housing and Urban Development Department was one possible target. "I'm going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I'm probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go," Romney said, according to NBC. "Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I'm not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we've got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states."

No date has been set for a meeting with Romney, Obama said.

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