President Obama defended his administration's economic record by saying that the nation has "made steady progress" during his term in office, and he continued pushing Congress to pass his $447 billion jobs bill in an interview broadcast on CBS' "The Early Show" Tuesday.
The president spoke with local television reporters from swing states at the White House Monday, including Amelia Santaniello of CBS News affiliate WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, who asked Mr. Obama if he could tell Americans that they were better off than they were four years ago.
"We are better off now than we would have been if I hadn't taken all the steps that we took," Mr. Obama said. "I don't think the country's stronger yet than it was when the economy was still booming and we didn't have the Wall Street crisis and we didn't have the housing bubble burst, but we've made steady progress. We just need to make more."
The president said he wasn't dodging responsibility for the economy's slow recovery from the recession that started during the Bush administration.
"It's always my responsibility," Mr. Obama said. "I'm less interested in allocating blame than just making sure that we're taking every step we need to to move the economy forward."
The president said that stabilizing the economy since he took office in 2009 was one of the actions of which he's "proudest" and that he wants to lower the nation's high unemployment rate.
"Opening up opportunity and making this economy work for everybody, not just a few at the top, that's got to be our number-one priority," Mr. Obama said.