Speaking at a fundraiser at the Pepsi Center in Denver, the president said his administration has been "trying to rebuild the compact that we had with each other as Americans" -- something he said "people felt had been slipping away" during the last 10 years, "even before this financial crisis, even before the recession."
"And it's hard -- because a lot of problems were neglected for years, and we got distracted, and we made some bad decisions," he said.
Obama recited a list of changes effected during his term in office in such areas as healthcare, financial regulation, student loans, the war in Iraq and military service for gays and lesbians.
"And so, three years later we can look back and say, there are a whole bunch of changes that we've made that haven't all paid off yet, but are laying the groundwork for a better America," he said.
"So we know change is possible," the president said. "It's hard and it's messy, and sometimes it's frustrating, but we know it's possible. But here's the thing. There are a lot of people who are still hurting and there's still a lot more work to do. And so that other 40 percent that is not done, I'm going to need you because I need five more years. I need five more years to get it done."
Obama again urged Congress to pass legislation designed to increase employment by "rebuilding our infrastructure -- our roads and our bridges, and airports and schools; putting construction workers back to work all across the country, to make sure that we're moving products and services and people faster and more efficiently -- a huge boost to the economy -- traditionally, hasn't been a Democratic issue, it's been a bipartisan issue."
He chided congressional Republicans for not accepting his proposals to "give tax cuts to small businesses and ordinary folks, not just those at the very top."
"And so we're going to keep on putting pressure on them, but in the meantime we're saying we can't wait for Congress, and we're going to go ahead and do everything we can through executive actions -- whether it's this refinancing program, or tomorrow I'm going to be talking about making college more affordable for young people -- we're not going to wait for Congress."
In all, the president appeared at three fundraisers Tuesday -- two in Denver and one in San Francisco.