CANNON FALLS (AP) - President Barack Obama told his Minnesota audience Monday that Washington needs to tone down the partisanship. There were more than just Democrats on hand to hear it.

Republican state Senator John Howe and former Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Peter Hutchinson helped fill out the crowd in a park along the Cannon Falls River.

Howe represents the area in the Minnesota Legislature. He says he was invited by the White House and had private time with the president. Asked if Obama won his vote, Howe laughed and said he wouldn't go that far.

Hutchinson says he too remains uncommitted for 2012 but said Obama struck the right note in stressing the importance of government in fixing problems.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)