"Having gone through these extraordinary hardships -- worst financial crisis since the Great Depression; the financial system on the verge of meltdown; dealing with two wars and all the losses associated with that and the enormous strains on our budget -- we are now in the process of having cleared out the rubble," Obama said at a joint fundraising event for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.
"And although we are nowhere near where we need to be, given everything that we've gone through, we have seen job growth for almost three consecutive years now. We have seen the economy growing. We have seen people's 401(k)s and investments on Wall Street restored. We've seen health care costs grow at a slower pace over the last three years than any time in the last 50 years. We are in the process of implementing and making sure that millions of people all across the country finally get affordable healthcare that they've never had."
He praised the courage of first responders to the Boston Marathon bombings and the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, and contrasted those displays of togetherness with "a spirit in Washington that isn't reflective of the spirit of the American people; a spirit in Washington that's more interested in game-playing than getting things done -- a spirit in Washington that is more concerned about the next election than the next generation. And that has to change," Obama said.
He added his second term has helped him see the "long view," saying: "I am president of all Americans, not just the leader of a party. And my top priority is to make sure that when I leave this office I can honestly say that America is in a stronger position and a more secure position and a more promising position than it was before I took office."
The president said the United States has doubled clean-energy production and is on course to be a net exporter of natural gas in five to 10 years.
Obama earlier delivered similar remarks two separate events at private residences in New York, saying the country must invest more in education and infrastructure.