Washington (CNN) -- The national unity that emerged in reaction to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has frayed in recent years, but some of it reappeared with the news that U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama told a dinner for congressional leaders Monday night.
At the mention of the successful mission to eliminate bin Laden, Obama received a prolonged standing ovation from his dozens of White House guests who included Cabinet members and top senators and U.S. representatives from both parties.
Citing the public reaction to the bin Laden news, Obama said it reminded everyone of the pride shared by Americans in "what this nation stands for and what we can achieve that runs far deeper than party, far deeper than politics."
Obama noted that upcoming debates on deficit reduction and the federal debt ceiling would be difficult and likely continue the political disagreements of the past.
"It is my fervent hope that we can harness some of that unity and some of that pride to confront the many challenges we still face," Obama said.