"When it comes to race let's acknowledge that of course there is still tension out there, there is still discrimination, there is still inequality. But we've made progress and if each of us takes it upon ourselves to treat people with fairness and stand in someone else's shoes…then we can make more progress," he said.
Any anticipated fireworks from conservative host Elisabeth Hasselbeck failed to materialize.
She pressed the president on one question about the White House measuring its employment record by using the metric of "jobs saved" rather than "jobs created."
"We are in a state of chronic joblessness, yet… you claim there are saved jobs, a standard not used before by any administration," said Hasselbeck. "It's frustrating to hear that 'saved-jobs' boasting because it doesn't feel that way to Americans when they don't have jobs… How can you continue to say you've saved jobs when in reality people are losing jobs?"
The president explained the stimulus gave money to states that would have otherwise fired teachers, police officers and other public employees. Saving those jobs, he said, was crucial to keeping the economy from cratering.
"It makes a difference if your job was one of the ones saved. States got hammered as a result of the financial crisis. If we had not provided immediate assistance to the states, they would have had to fire teachers, police, firefighters. This was not just a matter of jobs for those people but the services lost...We're bouncing back, but not bouncing back as quickly as we need to," said the president.
When asked by Barbara Walters, making her return to the show after a hiatus following heart surgery, about an increasingly deadly war in Afghanistan, the president reiterated his talking point that U.S. soldiers would be leaving Iraq this month and would begin drawing down from Afghanistan in the summer of 2011.
Asked to pick a "rose and thorn" – a highlight and a low -- for the month of July, the president picked as his highlight a family vacation to Maine with daughters Malia, 12, and Sasha, 9.
"The girls are getting old enough now where they're not quite teenagers yet, so they still like you. They are full of opinions and ideas and observations and it's just a great age," he said.
When it came to picking a thorny low point, "Where do I begin," he quipped.
"Obviously the country has gone through a tough stretch. Since I took office when I was sworn in ... the last 20 months have been a nonstop effort to restart the economy, to stabilize the financial system, to make sure we are creating jobs and not losing them," Obama said.
"As much as you've been saying it's tough for me, the truth is, it's not tough for me. You know I've got pundits on the news who might say things, but what the American people have gone through—losing jobs, seeing their home values go down, their 401ks declining -- those are the people that I draw inspiration from because I get letters every night from them and I read them," he said.
Obama was in New York and New Jersey Wednesday meeting with small business owners and doing political fund raising.
The president joked that he decided to appear on "The View" because it was the only show his wife Michelle watches.
"I was trying to find a show that Michelle actually watched, and so I thought this is it, right here," he said.
"All those new shows, she's like, eh, let me get the clicker."