"We are up against decades of bitter partisanship that cause politicians to demonise their opponents instead of coming together. It's the kind of partisanship where you're not even allowed to say that a Republican had an idea - even if it's one you never agreed with. That kind of politics is bad for our party, it's bad for our country."
Candidate Barack Obama said a lot of sensible things. His rhetoric stressed the importance of a unified America - not red states and blue states, but united states. His speeches decried the hyper-partisanship that had come to typify American politics.
Four years, it would seem, can make all the difference in the world.
President Barack Obama will soon seek re-election, and the most striking aspect of his second term agenda thus far is that it does not exist.
Mr. Obama, a sitting executive with a full term of experience, is not travelling the length and breadth of the nation spruiking the successes of his tenure thus far. Nor is he providing an uplifting vision for the future.
No, the President seems to think that his time would be better spent savaging his political opponents.
Most recently, Mr. Obama launched a blistering attack on the House Republican budget, which was crafted in an effort to address the nation's snowballing debt crisis.
The national debt, which has expanded at an unprecedented rate under the current President, is driven in large part by an increasingly steep growth in entitlement spending. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that by the middle of the century entitlements will consume all tax revenue, leaving aside no funds to provide other essential government services.
Mr. Obama has offered no comprehensive plan to address the national debt. He has made no contribution to the debate over entitlement spending, beyond excoriating any plan put forward by Republicans.
This is not leadership. It is not even 'leading from behind'.
Say what you will about Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, they have at least displayed enough political courage to address the looming debt crisis in a meaningful way. They are prepared to take potentially unpopular proposals to the American people and argue their case.
Meanwhile, the man who was elected in 2008 to lead the nation through the most troubled of times seems content merely to stand back and criticise. To engage in the very hyper-partisan attacks that, not so long ago, he decried.
"Over time, our weather forecasts would become less accurate because we would not be able to afford to launch new satellites. That means governors and mayors would have to wait longer to order evacuations in the event of a hurricane."
Is this really what we want from the President? For him to travel across the country, spreading the generationally important message that his political opponents threaten the accuracy of weather forecasts?
No, Mr. Obama was elected to lead. If the President truly believes that Republicans will take America down a path of 'social Darwinism', then he should present us with an alternative vision. Tell us how he will address the national debt without reforming entitlements. How he will drive economic growth while raising the tax burden on business.
For President Obama to prove that he deserves a second term, he must cast aside the invective of recent weeks and meet Republican policies with his own, better ideas.
He can either claim the mantle of leadership, or he can shrink into a sad caricature of the partisanship he promised to sweep away four years ago.