The HillTube

Obama: I'll pay attention to GOP race when they 'narrow it down to one or two'

Asked if he had been watching the Republican presidential debates, Obama joked, "Once they narrow it down to one or two, I'll start paying attention."

Obama made the comments on Tuesday while taping NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno, which will air tonight. It is his second appearance on the show as a sitting president.

Obama also addressed the execution of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, according to excerpts of the show released by NBC.

“Well, this is somebody who, for 40 years terrorized his country and supported terrorism,” he said. “And he had an opportunity during the Arab spring to finally let loose of his grip on power and to peacefully transition into democracy.”

“We gave him ample opportunity, and he wouldn’t do it,” Obama continued. “And, obviously, you never like to see anybody come to the kind of end that he did, but I think it obviously sends a strong message around the world to dictators that people long to be free and they need to respect the human rights and universal aspirations of people.”

Leno also asked Obama about his struggles to find common ground with Congressional Republicans, and in particular, Sen. Mitch McConnell’s remark that his “single most important political goal” was to make Obama a one-term president.

“Look, I think the things that folks across the country are most fed up with, whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent, is putting party ahead of country, or putting the next election ahead of the next generation,” the president said.

Obama is on a swing through Nevada, Colorado and California to raise cash for his 2012 campaign and pitch portions of his jobs and housing plans.