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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Obama Vows He's Ready For GOP In 2012; Cuts Perry "Some Slack" (Video)

Obama: I'll be ready for GOP in 2012

President Barack Obama was largely dismissive of the Republican presidential field Tuesday, claiming that he's not thinking too much about any of his potential 2012 opponents at the moment.

"I'll let (the Republicans) winnow it down a little bit," Obama told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in a one-on-one interview. But once the GOP chooses a presidential standard bearer for 2012, "I'll be ready for them," the president promised.

Obama made his remarks during what many analysts have characterized as a three-day campaign-style swing through the key Midwestern states of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

Asked to respond to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's assertion that members of the armed services would prefer a commander in chief who served in the military, Obama said presidential candidates have "got to be careful" about what they say. But as Perry just got into the presidential race, Obama said, he will "cut (Perry) some slack" for the moment.

Regarding former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's remarks that "corporations are people," Obama conceded that corporations play a critical role in the generation of wealth but stressed his disagreement with some conservatives over the closure of tax loopholes benefiting certain major corporations.

"If you tell me that corporations are vital to American life, that the free enterprise system has been the greatest wealth creator we've ever seen ... that I absolutely agree with," Obama said. But "if on the other hand you tell me that every corporate tax break that's out there is some how good for ordinary Americans ... then that I disagree with."

Ultimately, Obama conceded, the "buck stops with me" when it comes to the economy. "I'm going to be accountable" in 2012, he said.

But the president was quick to emphasize the "mess" he inherited from former President George W. Bush in 2009. He also blamed the economic drag created by state and local government layoffs, as well as "headwinds over the past six months" coming from Europe's debt crisis and a tsunami-ravaged Japan

"Everything we've done has been related to jobs, starting with the (2009) recovery act," Obama said. The president stressed, however, that he is "going to need a partner" in Congress -- now partially controlled by the Republicans -- in order to pass legislation needed to strengthen the economy in the short term.

While admitting that politically popular entitlement programs such as Medicare are contributing to Washington's spiraling deficits, Obama refused to offer details about what he is willing to do to help control medical costs. He stressed the need to lower health care costs as a whole, as opposed to going along with what he characterized as GOP attempts to "voucherize" Medicare and leave more responsibility for health expenses in the hands of vulnerable seniors.

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Sources: CNN, Think Progress, Youtube, Google Maps

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