Obama on what makes the sacrifice "worth it"

In his first interview since the Democratic National Convention, President Obama tells Scott Pelley what he would be willing to do to break the partisan gridlock with Congress and get some work done.

(CBS News) ST. PETERSBURG - We've been bringing you our conversations with the presidential candidates.

During the Republican National Convention, we talked with Mitt and Ann Romney.

This week, we have the president, who spoke to us while on a bus tour in Florida.

In our interview, there was a remarkable moment of candor when President Barack Obama told us the sacrifices he makes being president wouldn't be worth it except for one thing.

He brought it up while we were talking about the bitter deadlock between him and the Republicans who control the House of Representatives.

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Below is the transcript from the conversation:

Scott Pelley: The folks at home are so concerned about Washington's apparent inability to get big things done. How can you assure the American people that you are willing to go halfway and make a compromise with these people that you have, apparently, such acrimony with?

President Barack Obama: Well, Scott, I've gotta tell you -- there may be acrimony directed towards me, but you know what? That's not unique to my presidency. I'm willing to go more than halfway. And I've displayed that. I think that throughout my political career I've shown not only an instinct but a desire to find common ground. What I'm not willing to do is to slash education spending or, you know, healthcare for poor and needy children. And the reason I'm not willing to do that is because it's not gonna help the economy grow. Independent economists have looked at this ... It wouldn't reduce the deficit.

My entire interest is to deliver for middle class families out there that are struggling every day. And they are working hard. And, you know, one of the things that you learn after you've been in this office for a while is the pomp, the circumstance, the title, the Air Force One, all that stuff probably isn't worth the sacrifice -- with respect to time lost from your family. The inability to just take a walk and, you know, go out for a drive.

What makes it worth it is when you meet some couple that says, "You know what? Our kid was able to stay on our health insurance plan. And it turns out they were just diagnosed with a curable cancer. But if they hadn't stayed on their plan, we wouldn't have caught it." That's what makes it worth it. And any ideas that are out there -- Republican, Democrat, wherever it's coming from -- if it can help deliver on that, then I'm going to be right there, ready to go.