* Republican midterm gains could aid cooperation-Axelrod
* Legislative agenda will be trimmed if Democrats retreat
By Alister Bull and Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON, Oct 10 Republican gains in U.S.
elections next month, rather than spelling gridlock, could in
fact yield more bipartisan cooperation with the Obama
administration, a top White House official said on Sunday.
"I'm hoping that with more seats, the Republicans will feel
a greater responsibility to work with us to solve some of these
problems," David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Barack
Obama, told CBS's "Face the Nation."
Analysts expect a somewhat less ambitious legislative
agenda from Obama in the second two years of his presidency,
with the focus on delicate issues that demand a bipartisan
approach like immigration and energy legislation.
Obama has branded Republicans as the party of 'no' for
their bitter opposition to his landmark healthcare and Wall
Street reforms, and for blocking more government spending to
boost hiring from fear of adding to the record U.S. budget
But voters, worried by the economy and stubbornly high
unemployment near 10 percent, are expected to punish his
Democrats at in the November midterm congressional ballot, and
could hand control of the U.S. of Representatives to
Republicans. Republicans are expected to make gains in the
Democratic-controlled Senate as well.
All 435 seats in the House and 37 of the 100 seats in the
U.S. Senate will be up for grabs on Nov. 2.
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Axelrod said he did not believe Democrats would lose control
of the House, but he was hopeful for more cooperation with
Republicans than had been the case in the past.
"The posture of the Republican party from the moment we got
here has been basically to deprive the president of bipartisan
support so they could accuse him of not being bipartisan," he
Republicans say they opposed Obama because they believe his
policies took the country in the wrong direction.
SMALLER LEGISLATIVE SCOPE
In the process, they have tapped into smoldering public
anger over government bailouts of Wall Street - sponsored by
his Republican predecessor President George W Bush to tackle
the 2008 financial crisis - energizing conservatives with an
anti-big government, pro tax-cutting message.
"We need to actually come together and begin to cut
spending, rein in the size of government and get people back to
work," Eric Cantor, number two in the Republican House
leadership, told "Fox News Sunday."
Obama has already hinted at a quieter legislative period in
the next two years of his presidency.
On Monday, the president acknowledged the reforms he said
he was forced to put in place to fix the problems that led up
to the financial crisis now merited "a period of healing and
consolidation and implementation that is less disruptive".
Other Democrats say a resurgent Republican Party on Capitol
Hill that trimmed the size of the Democratic majority would
clearly impact the kind of legislation which could be tackled.
"It may well be the case that there are some issues that we
would have gotten passed last time that would not be able to
pass this time," Representative Chris Van Hollen, chairman of
the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told CNN's
"State Of The Union."
(Editing by Jackie Frank)