By Walter Alarkon - 07/31/09 01:58 PM EDT
The economy contracted by 1 percent in the second quarter of this year. Though that marked the fourth straight quarter that the economy failed to grow, the GDP number was better than the 1.5 percent contraction economists expected.
The president said that some of the economic progress is "directly attributable" to the $787 billion stimulus he and Democrats championed.
"This and other difficult steps we've taken in the last few months we've taken have helped us put the brakes on the recession," Obama added.
He touted his administration's steps to stem foreclosures and loosen up credit. He also highlighted the "cash for clunkers" program, which provided $1 billion in credits to consumers who traded in older cars for new, more fuel-efficient ones. The $1 billion program started last week and is nearly out of money. The House on Friday passed a bill seeking to extend it by giving it an additional $2 billion, a move Obama said he was pleased with.
"I am guardedly optimistic about the direction that our economy is going, but we've got a lot more work to do," he said.