Speaking to supporters in his home state at a fund-raiser at Aulani Disney Resort, Obama cited passage of the fair pay act, the rescue of the U.S. auto industry, the push for more fuel-efficient vehicles, improvements in loans to college students, healthcare reform, the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays, ending the war in Iraq and "working smarter and more effectively on national security."
"That's the kind of changes that you brought about because of the work you did in 2008," Obama said.
"Now, many of these changes weren't easy. Some of them were risky. Many of them came in the face of tough opposition and powerful lobbyists and special interests that were pouring millions of dollars into television ads to try to keep things just as they were. And it's no secret that the steps that we took weren't always politically popular. But this progress has been possible because of you ... . You kept up the fight for change long after the election was over."
But the Democratic president counseled his supporters against complacency going into the 2012 election.
"Everything we fought for in the last election is now at stake in the next election," Obama said. "The very core of what this country stands for is on the line. The basic promise that no matter who you are or where you come from, what you look like, that you can make it in America if you try -- that vision is on the line."
He said the work yet to be done includes reducing the national deficit through both cuts and tax increases, reforming the regulatory system, improving education and the nation's infrastructure, backing scientific research and transitioning to clean energy.
He said the race for new jobs, businesses and middle-class security is a race "I know we can win."
"But you don't win it by saying every American is on their own," he said. "We're not going to win it if we just hand out more tax cuts to people who don't need them, let companies play by their own rules without any restriction, and we just hope somehow that the success of the wealthiest few translates in the prosperity for everybody else.
"We have tried that, by the way. We tried it for 10 years. It's part of what got into the mess that we're in. It doesn't work. It didn't work for Herbert Hoover, when it was called trickle-down economics during the Depression. It didn't work between 2000 and 2008, and it won't work today. And the reason it won't work is because we are not a country that is built on survival of the fittest. That's not who we are. We believe in the survival of the nation."
The president also spent part of the day playing golf with his longtime friend Robert "Bobby" Titcomb, who pleaded no contest in May to soliciting a prostitute, Marvin Nicolson and White House advance man Pete Selfridge.