"I am really optimistic about America. I know that runs counter to the current mood, but when you look at the facts, our economy is stronger than just about anybody's," he said.
"The United States continues to be a magnet for the best and brightest from all around the world. My job over the next couple of years is to do some practical, concrete things -- as much as possible with Congress; where it's not possible with Congress, on my own -- to show people why we should be confident, and to give people a sense of progress and a sense of hope," Obama said.
The US leader stopped short of accepting direct responsibility for his Democratic party's defeat at the hands of Republicans who snatched control of the Senate, tightened its grip on the House of Representatives and won key Democrat governorships. Obama said the US has made real progress since he took over.
"The fact is more Americans are working; unemployment has come down. More Americans have health insurance. Manufacturing has grown. Our deficits have shrunk. Our dependence on foreign oil is down, as are gas prices," he said. Obama said he is ready to work with the Republican Party, which now controls the Congress, to advance the national agenda.
"I'm eager to work with the new Congress to make the next two years as productive as possible. I'm committed to making sure that I measure ideas not by whether they are from Democrats or Republicans, but whether they work for the American people," he said. "Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign. I'm pretty sure I'll take some actions that some in Congress will not like," he said.
But, in the absence of a strong legislative base for the remaining two years of his presidency, Obama said he would press ahead with plans on immigration reform. He said he would take executive action this year, without waiting to see whether the new Congress makes progress toward a comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform bill.