Obama touted himself as the "post-partisan" politician in a political system often gridlocked in an antagonized U.S. political environment.
Obama said in a speech Saturday that "American people are hungry for something different" and said he could establish a "working coalition, a working majority for change" in Washington.
Critics and supporters alike view Obama's rhetoric with a note of pessimism.
"He believes he's a game-changer, but I don't believe the game has changed," said U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., in Monday's Washington Post.
Past experiments with a bipartisan compromise came at the expense of party principles, as the Clinton White House settled on a joint federal and state heath program in place of a universal healthcare system and Republicans failed to curtail an expanding government bureaucracy, the Post said.