See video of the full interview here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But even your allies are saying you're going to have to listen to the message of the voters in Massachusetts? Listen to Evan Bayh, yesterday.
He says, "If you lose Massachusetts," and that's not a -- and that's not a wakeup call, "there is no hope of waking up."
He says basically Democrats have to reach out -- especially independents and moderates. Slow down the agenda. Because Americans just aren't buying what the Democrats are selling."
OBAMA: Well, look. I have tremendous respect for Evan, and he comes from a very tough state in Indiana.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He was on your short list for Vice President.
OBAMA: Well, he was -- which is why I say I've got a lot of respect for him.
And what is absolutely true is, during the course of this year, what you have is a situation in which we've got to take a lot of steps quickly that we know are unpopular, but were necessary.
And if you ask the average person what was our stimulus package, they'll tell you, "The bank bailout."
And I can say, "Well, no -- actually that started before I was sworn in, and we've managed it very well." But it doesn't negate that sense on peoples' part that nobody is looking after them in an extremely tough situation.
So the reason I say that we are not surprised by what happened in Massachusetts is because I'm frustrated, too.
I'm frustrated by the fact that over the last decade, we have not seen the kind of progress for middle class families that are needed. That's what I promised to deliver in the campaign.
It's not something that I believe we can get done in a year. But it is something that I think we are starting to make progress on. read the whole transcript here