updated 11/7/2010 7:02:11 PM ET 2010-11-08T00:02:11

President Barack Obama says the political cost of overhauling the health care system turned out to be higher than he had expected. And he admits that he gets discouraged at times when dealing with the economy.

In an interview airing Sunday night on CBS' "60 Minutes," Obama said the health care system itself is huge and complicated and that changing it eluded previous presidents because it was so difficult.

"I made the decision to go ahead and do it, and it proved as costly politically as we expected — probably actually a little more costly than we expected, politically," he said.

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Obama said he thought that he would find common ground with Republicans by advancing health care proposals that had been introduced by Republican administrations as well as potential presidential candidate Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts.

"I couldn't get the kind of cooperation from Republicans that I had hoped for," he said. "And that was costly, partly because it created the kind of partisanship and bickering that really turn people off."

Obama said the danger of a second major recession is "much reduced" and a great depression is not on the horizon. Still a danger, he said, is the nation being "stuck in a new normal where unemployment rates stay high."

"I do get discouraged. I mean, there are times where I thought the economy would had gotten better by now," he said. "One of the things I think you understand as president is you're held responsible for everything. But you don't always have control of everything, especially an economy this big."

However, Obama sounded optimistic about the nation's economic future.

"I am constantly reminded that we have been through worse times than these, and we've always come out on top," he said. "And I'm positive that the same thing is going to happen this time."

Obama said his two years as president haven't changed his ideals.

"But I think that in terms of how I operated on a day-to-day basis, when you've got a series of choices to make — I think that there are times where we said let's just get it done instead of worrying about how we're getting it done," he said. "And I think that's a problem. I'm paying a political price for that."

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Video: Health care law repeal tops GOP to-do list

  1. Transcript of: Health care law repeal tops GOP to-do list

    LESTER HOLT, anchor: the midterm elections are over, but the battle to interpret that message that voters were sending has just begun. And no wonder; there's a lot at stake. And for the latest we turn NBC 's Mike Viqueira at the White House . Hi , Mike .

    MIKE VIQUEIRA reporting: Good evening, Lester . As Republicans prepare to take control of the House , they're taking a hard line on taxes and repealing the new health care law even as they disagree among each other on the best way to cut spending.

    Governor CHRIS CHRISTIE (Republican, New Jersey): We're going to let the chips fall where they may on...

    VIQUEIRA: Today, a rising GOP star warned even though voters sent Democrats packing on Tuesday, they won't have much patience for Republicans , either.

    Gov. CHRISTIE: It's put up or shut up time for our party. You know, we lost our way the last decade, David . We did. And the people expect us to do better. And if the Republican Party wants to come back, they're going to have to do what they said they were going to do.

    VIQUEIRA: At the top of that to-do list, health care . Republicans say they want to move quickly and try to scale back the new law, hoping the next election brings one of their own to the White House .

    Representative PAUL RYAN (Republican, Wisconsin): We're going to do everything we can to try and repeal and replace this thing. And ultimately I think 2013 is when it will be done the right way.

    VIQUEIRA: Another fight is brewing over tax cuts set to expire at year's end. President Obama has signaled he is open to a temporary extension for the wealthy, but insists that any permanent cuts be limited to the middle class .

    President BARACK OBAMA: I want to make my priorities clear from the start. One, middle-class families need permanent tax relief.

    VIQUEIRA: But today, Republicans insist all the cuts be made permanent.

    Representative ERIC CANTOR (Republican, Virginia): I am not for raising taxes in a recession, especially when it comes to job creators that we need so desperately to start creating jobs again.

    VIQUEIRA: And despite some high-profile tea party defeats, today one of their leaders took credit for Tuesday's results.

    DAVID GREGORY reporting: Do you think the tea party actually cost the Republican Party control of the Senate ?

    Representative JIM DeMINT (Republican, South Carolina): That is a very silly thing to say, David . The tea party are responsible for just about every Republican who was elected around the country.

    VIQUEIRA: But already there are differences between GOP leaders and their new tea party members over earmarks, special projects that many consider wasteful pork. Today, the top Senate Republican would not commit to a total ban.

    Senator MITCH McCONNELL (Republican, Kentucky): I'd be willing to consider it. The problem is it doesn't save any money. It's an argument about discretion.

    Rep. DeMINT: We're not going to have earmarks so it's really silly for some senior Republicans in the Senate to try to block it.

    VIQUEIRA: And, Lester , there's also some division on the other side of the aisle among House Democrats. Nancy Pelosi 's surprising decision to run for minority leader has pitted her top two lieutenants, Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn , against each other for the number two spot. They spent the weekend on the phone trying to line up votes. Lester :

    HOLT: Mike Viqueira for us at

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