President Obama responded to criticism that he hasn't dedicated enough time to developing relationships with congressional lawmakers and other Washington power players, explaining that being available to his two daughters is his main priority.

"Sometimes Michelle and I not doing the circuit and going out to dinners with folks is perceived as us being cool," Obama said in a interview with CNN slated to air Monday evening. "It actually really has more to do with us being parents. When we're in town here in Washington in the evenings, 6:30 we want to be at the dinner table with our kids. And I want to be helping with their homework."

Obama has taken heat from major Democratic donors who have felt snubbed by the president's apparent aversion to schmoozing. However, Obama insists that's not the case.

"I think that's sometimes interpreted as me not wanting to be out there slapping backs and wheeling and dealing," Obama said. "It really has more to do with the stage we are in our lives."

The president has also been plagued by charges of his failures to live up to his 2008 campaign's promises of bipartisanship. He told CNN that he hopes that cooperation between Republicans and Democrats can become more of a reality after the partisan politics of the election season subsides.

"My hope is that getting past this election, people will have an opportunity to maybe step back and say, you know, the differences that divide us aren't as important as the common bonds we have as Americans," Obama said. "Some of that I'm sure will require additional effort on my part. Hopefully we'll see more effort on the other side as well."

Obama has described parenting as his "hardest" but most "rewarding" job.

"I grew up without my father around," he said during a weekly address last June. "He left when I was two years old, and even though my sister and I were lucky enough to have a wonderful mother and caring grandparents to raise us, I felt his absence. And I wonder what my life would have been like had he been a greater presence. That’s why I’ve tried so hard to be a good dad for my own children."

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  • Bo Obama

    President Obama pets the family dog, Bo, upon his return to the White House on March 15, 2012.

  • Bo Obama

    President Obama laughs as his dog Bo sniffs another dog as he shops at Petsmart on Dec. 21, 2011, in Alexandria, Va.

  • Bo Obama

    The Obama family dog Bo inspects the White House Christmas tree after its arrival at the White House on Nov. 25, 2011.

  • Bo Obama

    President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama read 'Chicka Chicka Boom Boom' to children during the White House Easter Egg Roll as Sasha Obama listens and dog Bo tries to get attention on the South Lawn of the White House on April 25, 2011. About 30,000 people were expected to attend the 133-year-old tradition of rolling colored eggs down the White House lawn.

  • Bo Obama

    In this photo provided by the White House, Bo, the Obama family dog, peers into the Oval Office from the colonnade, on Oct. 26, 2010.

  • Bo Obama

    White House horticulturist Dale Haney, left, washes off Bo's paws outside the White House on Oct. 19, 2010. The First Dog, Bo, was a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy to Sasha and Malia who had been promised a dog by President Obama when he was on the presidential campaign trail.

  • Bo Obama

    A White House staff walks First Dog Bo as President Barack Obama lands at the Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station in Cape Cod, Mass., on Aug. 19, 2010, to leave for Martha's Vineyard for a family vacation.

  • Bo Obama

    The Obama family dog, a Portuguese water dog named Bo, trots across the South Lawn Aug. 2, 2010.

  • Bo Obama

    President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia, left, and Sasha, right, walk with their dog Bo as they visit the Bass Harbor Head Light lighthouse during the first family's weekend vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine, on July 17, 2010.

  • Bo Obama

    President Obama walks the first dog Bo to a picnic for members of Congress on the South Lawn of the White House June 8, 2010.

  • Bo Obama

    President Obama takes a walk down the street from his home accompanied by his mother-in-law Marian Robinson, daughters Malia Obama, left, and Sasha Obama, right, and dog Bo May 29, 2010 in Chicago.

  • Bo Obama

    Clockwise from top, President Obama, first lady Michelle, first dog Bo, daughters Sasha and Malia, and Marian Robinson, mother of Mrs. Obama, walk down the stairs from the Truman Balcony during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll at the South Lawn April 5, 2010.

  • Bo Obama

    President Obama's family dog Bo waits for the president on March 5, 2010.

  • Bo Obama

    President Obama's family dog Bo nuzzles the cast on a boy's leg during a visit to the Children's National Medical Center on Dec. 22, 2009.

  • Bo Obama

    Bo, the Obama family dog, sits in the snow outside of the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on Dec. 19, 2009.

  • Bo Obama

    A miniature Bo, President Obama's dog, a part of the official White House gingerbread house, designed by White House Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, displayed in the State Dining Room of the White House during a press preview of holiday decorations on Dec. 2, 2009.

  • Bo Obama

    In this handout photo provided by the White House, Cappy, the brother of Obama family dog, Bo, eats treats at a birthday celebration for Bo in the Rose Garden of the White House on Oct. 9, 2009.

  • Bo Obama

    First lady Michelle Obama hands the family dog Bo to her husband President Barack Obama as they leave a school in D.C. on Sept. 26, 2009, where their daughter Malia played a soccer game.

  • Bo Obama

    President Obama is greeted by his daughters Sasha, center, Malia and their dog Bo upon his return to the White House on Sept. 15, 2009, following a trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania.

  • Bo Obama

    The Obamas welcome Bo, a six-month old Portuguese water dog and a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy to Sasha and Malia.

  • Bo Obama

    Bo arrived at the White House wearing a lei on Easter Sunday in 2009.

  • Bo Obama

    Bo, the Obama family dog, lounges in the West Garden Room of the White House, Sept. 15, 2011.

  • Bo Obama

    President Obama and Bo, the Obama family dog, ride in the presidential motorcade en route to PetSmart in Alexandria, Va. The president bought Bo some Christmas gifts at the pet store then walked nearby to Best Buy to purchase gifts for his daughters.

  • Bo Obama

    President Obama plays with Bo, the Obama family dog, aboard Air Force One during a flight to Hawaii, Dec. 23, 2011.

  • Bo Obama

    White House Deputy Director of Oval Office Operations Brian Mosteller attempts to protect his shoes as he plays with the Obama family dog Bo in the Cabinet Room at the White House April 21, 2009.

  • Bo Obama

    The Obama family dog, Bo, lies on a carpet in the White House on July 27, 2009.

  • Bo Obama

    President Obama looks back as Bo, the Obama family dog, follows him into the Oval Office on Jan. 27, 2012.

  • Bo Obama

    Bo relaxes in the doorway of in the Oval Office, Sept. 14, 2009.