"I am absolutely convinced it was the right thing to do, not because there might not have been information that was yielded by these various detainees who were subjected to this treatment, but because we could have gotten this information in other ways, in ways that were consistent with our values, in ways that were consistent with who we are," he said.
With the clock ticking for Chrysler to come up with a plan to remain viable, Obama said he was "very hopeful, more hopeful" than a month ago that the automaker would get it done. He expressed greater confidence in General Motors.
"I would love to get the U.S. government out of the auto business as quickly as possible. We have a circumstance in which a bad recession compounded some great weaknesses already in the auto industry," the president said.
Obama called the budget plan passed by Congress today the latest step in his administration's efforts to stabilize the American economy.
"This budget builds on the steps we've taken over the last 100 days to move this economy from recession to recovery and ultimately to prosperity," Obama said. Both the House and Senate today passed the $3.5 trillion five-year budget plan that sets funding priorities for many of the president's top agenda items, including investments in education, renewable energy and health care.
"We must lay a new foundation for growth -- a foundation that will strengthen our economy and help us compete in the 21st century. And that's exactly what this budget begins to do," Obama said.
Obama's top advisers spent most of the day playing the media-driven game of marking the president's 100th day in office.
Despite the demure attempts by those advisers to write the day off as a "Hallmark holiday," the administration has been sure to have representatives fanned out across the airwaves today touting the sheer size and scope of what Obama has accomplished in his short time at the White House.
But even the president got into the game a bit at his town hall meeting outside of St. Louis today and in his remarks tonight before he took questions.
"You can expect an unrelenting, unyielding effort from this administration to strengthen our prosperity and our security in the second hundred days, in the third hundred days, and all of the days after that," he said.
Obama echoed comments he made at a town hall meeting this morning in Arnold, Mo., and said that while there has been progress on the economy in the first 100 days of his administration, there is still much work to be done.
"I am proud of what we have achieved, but I am not content," he said. "I am pleased with our progress, but I am not satisfied."
The president ran through a list of big issues that still need to be addressed: economic issues like unemployment, tight credit markets, the struggling auto industry and long-term deficits, and foreign policy issues such as the continued threat of terrorism, nuclear weapons and flu.
"The overture has finished and now it truly begins," said one adviser to the White House, referring to the healthcare, energy, and automaker debates to come. "If people thought the first 100 days a productive one, it genuinely only served as a curtain raiser," the adviser added.