But the administration is not abandoning health care despite the president's not mentioning the overhaul effort until 30 minutes into his 70-minute speech, Vice President Joe Biden told "Good Morning America" today.
"The beginning of the speech was to remind everybody not to blame, but to remind everybody what we had to do the first year," Biden said. "We inherited an awful lot, and the president basically said, 'Look, we had a lot to do and now that we got things stabilized, now is the time to focus on jobs.'"
Obama said last night that job creation will be his administration's top priority this year, and he vowed to continue pushing for health care legislation despite recent political setbacks.
"Jobs must be our No. 1 focus in 2010," the president said.
It's an objective many Republicans are praising and saying is long overdue.
"We lost a year," former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney said on "GMA." "Instead of focusing on jobs, [Obama] focused on health care and a host of other things. ... The portions of his speech last night that dealt with jobs were encouraging -- there are a number of things that I think you'll see Republicans say 'absolutely.'"
Obama's call for a new jobs bill did draw bipartisan support from the members of Congress seated before him in the House chamber.
Obama dedicated about two-thirds of his address to the economy and domestic policy issues as he tried to reassure an increasingly skeptical U.S. public that his agenda is the right solution to fix the nation's economic woes.
The president acknowledged mistakes made in his first year, but he was resolute that he could keep the promises he made to the American people when he ran for office.
"I campaigned on the promise of change -- 'change we can believe in,' the slogan went. And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren't sure if they still believe we can change -- or at least, that I can deliver it," Obama said. "But remember this -- I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I can do it alone."
It is because of the American people's "resilience in the face of adversity" that the president said he has "never been more hopeful" about the nation's future than he is tonight.
"Despite our hardships, our union is strong," he said.
Obama's message seemed aimed at rallying the American people and reassuring them that his administration and the politicians in Washington understand their concerns and are working for them.
"We do not give up. We do not quit. We don't allow fear or division to break our spirit," the president said. "In this new decade, it's time the American people get a government that matches their decency, that embodies their strength."
Despite recent election setbacks for Democrats, Obama told Congress and the American people that he "will not walk away" from his controversial drive for health insurance reform, and urged Congress to stay with him.
"Here's what I ask of Congress, though: Do not walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close," he said. "Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people.