Obama says he expected more cooperation from GOP

In an exclusive interview with CBS News President Barack Obama and first Lady Michelle Obama discuss the political campaign, the politics of Washington gridlock, family life, and how their experience in the White House has strengthened their marriage.

(CBS News) In an interview with "CBS This Morning" co-anchor Charlie Rose, President Obama reflected on his first term, saying he campaigned on the theme of unity under the belief that political partisanship could diminish.

"My expectation was that we would see more cooperation," the president said. "But having said that, the basic notion that we are not Democrats or Republicans first, we're Americans first, and that most of the problems that we face are solvable, not in some ideological way, but in a practical, common sense, American way, that I believe as much as ever. And I think so do the American people."

"The frustration I have right now is that we still need to break the fever here in Washington so this town operates and reflects those values that are shared by people all across the country," he said, "meaning that we've got to stop thinking in purely political terms about who's on top, who gets advantage."

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Despite partisan gridlock, the president argued he "did an awful lot in the first four years."

"One of the things you learn in this office is everything takes a little longer than you'd like," he added.

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When asked about his proudest achievement, interestingly, Mr. Obama didn't cite the passage of his health care law, which was recently upheld by the Supreme Court.

"You know, my proudest achievement is actually stabilizing the economy to avert a great depression," he said. "Because if I don't do that, nothing else matters."

"Now we're not where we need to be. And you're right, the unemployment rate is way too high," he said. "But the fact of the matter is that we were able to stop a hemorrhaging of jobs, get the economy growing again, add 4.4 million jobs, 500,000 manufacturing jobs, save the auto industry. All those things provide us at least a base from which now to grow," he said.

"The central question becomes, building on what we've done, where do we go from here?" the president asked. "Making sure that we are constantly thinking about growing this economy, not from the top down, because we tried that and it didn't work. And it hasn't worked historically. But rather, how do we make sure that every man and woman out there, who's willing to work hard has a chance? That's what we're going to spend the next four months debating and that's what I hope to spend the next four years working on."

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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