"We've got good, common-sense solutions that we can implement right now. The bad news is, is that there's a shortage of common sense in Washington," Obama told supporters at the Arthur Blank Family Foundation.
"What's holding us back is a tendency in Washington to put politics ahead of policy, to put the next election ahead of the next generation. And that mind-set is what we need to change. ...
"That's what your efforts represent here -- our capacity to get beyond the kind of short-term tactical, partisan thinking that has come to so dominate Washington, and to start moving in a direction in which we're just trying to get stuff done," Obama said.
"For the last four years, I've been fairly busy -- ending a war; winding down another war; making sure that we went after al Qaeda and those who attacked us on 9/11; recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression; saving an auto industry; stabilizing the banking system; making sure that we have a system in place that every American has access to healthcare; ensuring that we begin on the road to energy independence; deal with issues like climate change; double our fuel efficiency on cars, double our production of clean energy; make sure that our education system is on a solid path of reform; and making sure that college is affordable so that those young people ... are able to graduate without a mountain of debt."
Obama noted new graduates face a "job market that is still challenging, and because of some policies in Washington like the sequester, growth may end up slowing and we may start seeing once again the job market stall in ways that makes it a lot harder for them to realize their full potential."
Despite the "doom and gloom of what you hear emanating out of Washington," Obama said Democrats should be optimistic about the United States.
"I think that we are on track with just a few important decisions that are well within our capacity to make sure the 21st century is the American Century just like the 20th century was," he said.