The healing begins here, my friends.

In an exclusive interview with National Journal, Obama took a conciliatory tone towards the same Republicans he’s been lambasting on the campaign trail. When asked about how he would respond if Congress extended the Bush tax cuts — something the president opposes for higher-income earners — he offered a broader answer.

“I think it’s premature to talk about vetoes because maybe I’m a congenital optimist, but I feel as if, post-election, regardless of how it plays out, the most important message that will be sent by the American people is, we want people in Washington to act like grown-ups, cooperate, and start trying to solve problems instead of scoring political points,” Obama said.

The president sounded a cautionary note for his fellow Democrats: “And it is going to be important for Democrats to have a proper and appropriate sense of humility about what we can accomplish in the absence of Republican cooperation. I think it’s going to be important for Republicans to recognize that the American people aren’t simply looking for them to stand on the sidelines, they’re going to have to roll up their sleeves and get to work.”

Is “more cooperation” really the lesson to be drawn from a voter tsunami towards the GOP? I thought it was “we’re willing to hand a landslide to a party we don’t much like or trust because we hate Obama’s platform that much.” In fact, when I first saw the headline for this story at National Journal, I thought Obama meant it was time for the left to show humility about its agenda in the wake of a harsh verdict from voters next month. Of course, that’s not what he’s saying; what he’s saying is that political reality next year will be such that they’ll have to be a little more oriented towards bipartisanship and compromise than they were before, which is already painfully obvious to everyone. Follow the link up top and you’ll see that it’s Mitch McConnell, not The One, who’s endorsing humility vis-a-vis the midterm results. He knows the public still doesn’t trust the GOP, so that trust will have to be earned. Obama’s still in the bubble, in other words. Luckily, McConnell is not.

Exit question: The One made another semi-surprising admission on the stump today when he accepted responsibility for a key mistake made over the past 21 months. Rather than tell you what that mistake was, let’s do multiple choice. Three possibilities: (a) pursuing a fabulously expensive health-care reform program when all anyone cared about was unemployment; (b) not taking five minutes to figure out whether “shovel-ready jobs” exist before spending several hundred billion dollars to fund them; (c) salesmanship and “messaging.” Can you guess?