"I think the healthcare debate as it unfolded legitimately raised concerns not just among my opponents, but also amongst reporters that we just don't know what's going on," and that some "stray cats" got in the bill, he said.
But the president insisted "I didn't make a bunch of deals… I am happy to own up to the fact that I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked."
The president's comments seem to acknowledge that the year-long fight for a health care reform bill has cost him politically. The day after Brown won election in Masschusetts, Obama indicated that he was willing to make concessions to win passage of some form of a health care reform bill.
Within days of the Massachusetts election, he has also hired his 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe to help his administration and the Democratic Party regroup before the midterm elections later this year.
The president said the setbacks suffered by politicians in Washington are "nothing compared to the setbacks of a guy who loses his job… He's sending out 100 resumes and he's not getting any answers back and his wife and kids are at home and he's thinking, am I going to be able to make sure that mortgage payments get made? Am I going to be able to afford to keep my health insurance? … They get up every day, they go out for that next interview and they keep on interviewing until they find a job. Those are the people who inspire me."
Watch President Obama's State of the Union address Wednesday on ABC News or streamed live on ABCNews.com
The White House has made it clear that during the State of the Union the president will propose measures that emerged from his Task Force on Middle Class Families.
Those measures include:
Increasing the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for middle class families making under $85,000 a year from 20% to 35% of qualifying expenses.
Capping student federal loan payments to 10 percent of the student's income above a basic living allowance.
Requiring all employers to give workers an option of automatic workplace direct-deposit IRAs.
Expanding tax credits to match retirement savings by expanding and simplifying the Saver's Credit to match 50 percent of the first $1,000 of contributions by families earning up to $65,000 and providing a partial credit to families earning up to $85,000.
Expanding support for families balancing work with caring for elderly relatives with a $102.5 million Caregiver Initiative.