"We live in a world where America is facing stiff competition for good jobs from rapidly growing nations, like China and India and Brazil," Obama said in his remarks at a party event in Philadelphia.
"For a long time we were told the best way to win that competition is just to undermine consumer protections and undermine clean air laws and clean water laws and hand out tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires."
"That was the idea that held sway for close to a decade. And let's face it, it didn''t work out very well," he said.
President said there is an important debate in Washington on how to cut the deficit, referring to the debate going on in the capital between the White House and the Republicans.
He said it is absolutely critical to get a handle on country's finances.
Stating that he is prepared to bring the deficit down by trillions of dollars, Obama added, "But I will not reduce our deficit by sacrificing our kids'' education. I''m not going to reduce our deficit by eliminating medical research being done by our scientists.
"It would be irresponsible, we would be mortgaging our future, if we don't do anything about the deficit. But we will also be mortgaging our future and it will be irresponsible if, in the process of reducing our deficit, we sacrifice those very things that allow us to grow and create jobs and succeed and compete in the future," he said.