Obama 'optimistic' on immigration reform; gun control 'tougher'

President Obama said Thursday he's "very optimistic" Congress will pass comprehensive immigration reform in the coming months, but conceded it's "going to be tougher" to push through a gun control measure.

Speaking to a small group of donors outside San Francisco, Obama once again discussed the urgency of passing gun control legislation, nearly four months after 20 students and six educators were killed at a Connecticut elementary school.

"I'm very optimistic that we get immigration reform done in the next few months," Obama told a crowd of donors in Atherton, Calif., where he is fundraising for Democratic candidates. "It's going to be tougher to get gun legislation to reduce gun violence through the Senate and the House that so many of us, I think, want to see, particularly after the tragedy at Newtown."

Obama made the comments a day after delivering a speech in Colorado — just miles from a movie theater where a lone gunmen killed 12 people and injured dozens of others last July — where he said gun reform is necessary to stop an epidemic of mass shootings.

"If these reforms keep one person from murdering dozens of innocent children or worshipers or movie-goers in the span of minutes, isn't it worth fighting for?"

During the speech at the Denver Police Academy, he accused the National Rifle Association of having "ginned up fears among responsible gun owners that have nothing to do with what's being proposed, nothing to do with facts, but feeds into this suspicion about government."

"You hear some of these quotes: 'I need a gun to protect myself from the government,' " Obama said, reiterating what he's heard. " 'We can't do background checks because the government is going to come take my guns away.' Well, the government's us. These officials are elected by you ... I am elected by you."

Obama will travel to Connecticut on Monday, where he will continue to push for gun control legislation.