WASHINGTON -- Boiled down, President Obama is telling voters the problem in Washington is that congressional Republicans are blocking his initiatives -- and voters should give one party control of both the White House and Congress.
"What's holding us back from making even more progress than we've made is a stalemate in Washington between two fundamentally views about which path we should take as a country," Obama told backers Tuesday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
"And," he added, "this election is about breaking that stalemate."
Legislation is complicated by the fact that Congress is divided by party -- the Republicans control the House, while the Democrats run the Senate.
One result: Obama's jobs and tax cut plans, among others, have been stalled in Congress.
During Obama's first two years, Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate, and passed the health care law, the stimulus bill, new Wall Street regulations, and other pieces of legislation.
In many ways, Obama opponent Mitt Romney and other Republicans are running against the president's record of the first two years, including plans to repeal the health care law.
And Republicans are also asking voters to give them control of the presidency and both houses of Congress.
However the Nov. 6 election turns out, breaking the stalemate won't be that easy.
For one thing, members within each party don't always get along. Also, thanks to power of the filibuster, it takes only 40 Senate votes to block any proposed law; it's hard to see any party racking up the 60 seats needed for a filibuster-proof Senate.
Meanwhile, Obama is casting the 'stalemate' election in stark terms.
"This election will determine our economic future for the next generation," he said in Ohio. "And, frankly, the choice could not be clearer."