Carney needles GOP presidential field after debate

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday criticized Republican presidential hopefuls after they spent Monday's night's debate attacking President Obama.

Carney said Obama did not watch the debate — he was speaking at Democratic fundraising events in Miami  but Carney said that Republicans ignored two key issues.

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"I was struck by the fact that over the course of two hours, the phrase 'middle class' and the word 'education' did not pass anyone's lips that I heard, which was striking to me because the middle class is obviously, to our mind, the primary focus of everything that we do in terms of the economic policies we pursue and the concerns we have," he said at his daily briefing.

As the campaign season heats up, the White House has shown it's more willing to go after Republican candidates looking to unseat Obama in 2012.

The economy is expected to dominate the campaign and Obama has spent the past week promoting his administration's efforts to boost the sluggish economic recovery and create jobs. 

But Republicans have pointed to the 9.1 percent unemployment rate and falling home prices as evidence that Obama's policies have failed.

Earlier on Tuesday, Obama rejected the notion he is out of touch on the economy. 

"The notion somehow that I'm calm about that is nonsense," Obama said in an interview on NBC's "Today" show. "But what is true is that as president my job is to make sure that I am finding every good idea we can to move the country forward."