“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help,” the president said during a campaign stop in Roanoke, Va. “There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business— you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

But Mitt Romney has continued to press Obama on the issue, saying repeatedly on the campaign trail that "the context was worse."

“What he said was not a gaffe,” Romney said while campaigning in Iowa last month. “It was not a slip of the tongue. What he said was his philosophy. He said that if you have a business, you didn’t build it, someone else did that.”

Republicans have turned "We built that" into a rallying cry on the trail, and the Romney campaign has featured a series of videos featuring small-business owners hitting Obama over the comments. During the Republican National Convention, an entire evening was organized around the theme, featuring small-business owners speaking and Republican politicians mocking the remark.

But Obama said in the interview Wednesday he had worked to help small businesses — and despite Republican taunts, Americans were better off than four years ago.

"We are absolutely better off than we were when I was sworn in and we were losing 800,000 jobs in a month," Obama said.