Obama, asked to identify the biggest lesson he’s learned during his first term, told Univision on Thursday that it is that he needs the American people to support his efforts in Washington.

"You can't change Washington from the inside," Obama said. "You can only change it from the outside. That’s how I got elected, and that’s how the big accomplishments like healthcare got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out. That’s how we were able to cut taxes for middle-class families."

Romney is pushing back on Obama’s revelation, effectively campaigning on the promise to “change” politics that was also central to Obama’s campaign in 2008.

“I can change Washington. I will change Washington. I’ll get the job done from the inside,” he said at a campaign rally later in the day.

“He said he can only change it from the outside. Well, we’re going to give him that chance in November,” Romney continued. “His slogan was ‘Yes we can’; his slogan is now ‘No, I can’t.’ He went from the president of change to the president who can’t get change.” 

But Obama's campagin says Romney is taking his comments out of context, calling it "a new record in desperation."

"What the president said today is no different than what he has been saying for many years – that change comes from outside Washington, not inside," said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith. "When Americans came together and stood up to special interests, we reformed health care, cut taxes for the middle class and put in new rules for Wall Street. And, that’s why we have elections.”

Updated at 6:07 p.m.