When I won in 2008, 47 percent of the American people voted for John McCain, they didn't for vote for me. And what I said on election night was "Even though you didn't vote for me, I hear your voices, and I'm going to work as hard as I can to be your president."Obama didn't mention Romney by name, but his rebuke was plenty tough, sparing Romney no quarter. Obama rejected Romney's claim that 47 percent of Americans see themselves as victims entitled to government dependency. "They work hard," Obama said. Travelling around the country, "you don't meet anybody who doesn't believe in the American Dream and the fact that nobody is entitled to success, that you've got to work hard. And so, I promise you, there are not a lot of people out there who think they are victims. They're not a lot of people who think they're entitled to something."
And one of the things that I've learned as president, is you represent the entire country. And when I meet Republicans as we're traveling around the country, they are hard-working, family people who care about this country, and my expectation is that if you want to be president, you've go to work for everybody—not just for some.
The president also defended the proposition that there are things that government can and should do to make sure everybody has a fair shot at the American Dream.
What I think the majority of people—Democrats and Republicans—believe is that we've got some obligations to each other and there's nothing wrong with giving each other a helping hand so if that single mom's kid, even after all the work she's done, still can't afford to go to college, for us to be able to give them some help on a student loan so they can end up curing the next disease, or starting the next Google, I think that's a good investment for America. And if you want to be president, and you want to bring people together, I think that's the attitude you've got to have.Obama, noting his own 2008 fundraiser slip, said "all of us make mistakes," but added that he quickly recognized his mistake. "What I think people want to make sure of, though, is that you're not writing off a big chunk of the country," he said. "One thing I've never tried to do, and I think none of us can do in public office, is suggest that because somebody doesn't agree with me that they're victims or they're unpatriotic or that they don't have a sense of responsibility."