At a dinner with the nation's governors, President Barack Obama says he's not naive in believing politics can be a noble endeavor.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama are playing host Sunday to dozens of governors in town for a National Governors Association conference.

Obama has made it a focus during his final year to talk about bridging some of the partisan divide in Washington, a task made more difficult during election season.

Obama recounted how President Lyndon B. Johnson told a gathering of governors three days after John F. Kennedy's death that a government of checks and balances will only work when people are willing to work together for the common good. Obama says he also believes that and he knows many of the governors do as well.