President Obama on Thursday night defended the role of government in American life while conceding cuts in the federal deficit are necessary.

"This larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everyone’s money, let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own — that’s not who we are," said Obama. "That’s not the story of America."

At the same time, Obama called on Congress to make deeper cuts in federal spending in his presentation of a jobs plan he said would be paid for by implementing reforms in the tax code. 

Obama, however, noted he believes it is individuals who drive the American economy.

 "Yes, we are rugged individualists," said Obama. "Yes, we are strong and self-reliant. And it has been the drive and initiative of our workers and entrepreneurs that has made this economy the engine and envy of the world."