President Obama said Tuesday he’ll be “ready” for whichever Republican candidate he faces in the 2012 general election.
The president took it easy on Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — two front-runners for the Republican nomination — for their campaign trail missteps in the past week.
But in an interview with CNN, Obama projected confidence about his eventual campaign.
Obama has been gearing up for next year’s election during his bus tour through the Midwest over the past few days. He’s questioned Republican priorities and made his most direct references to date to the candidates vying for his job in 2012.
“It’s amusing to watch one of the major Republican candidates now trying to wiggle out of the fact that my healthcare bill is very similar to the healthcare bill he passed at a time when he needed to compromise because he was living in a Democratic-majority state,” Obama said in Decorah, Iowa, in a reference to Romney.
The president was more circumspect Tuesday with CNN when it came to Romney’s comment last Friday in Iowa that “corporations are people,” and Perry’s comment Monday that the expansion in the money supply piloted by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is “almost treasonous.”
“Well, if you tell me that corporations are vital to American life, that the free-enterprise system has been the greatest wealth creator that we’ve ever seen, that their corporate CEOs and folks who are working in our large companies that are creating incredible products and services and that is all to the benefit of the United States of America, that I absolutely agree with,” Obama said of Romney’s remark. “If, on the other hand, you tell me that every corporate tax break that’s out there is somehow good for ordinary Americans, that we have a tax code that’s fair ... then that I disagree with.”
As for Perry, Obama said it takes such new candidates as him some time “before they start realizing that this isn’t like running for governor or running for senator or running for [the House].”
“But I’ll cut him some slack. He’s only been at it for a few days now,” the president said.