President Obama insists he hasn't been giving his potential Republican challengers "too much thought."
But in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, the president took shots at rivals Rick Perry and Mitt Romney—a hint he's paying closer attention to the daily drama of the campaign trail than he suggests.
On Monday, Perry criticized Obama's lack of military experience, saying the armed forces would have more respect for a president who had served compared to one who had not.
Asked if the comment was "disrespectful," Obama waved it off, telling CNN that Perry is still a novice on the national political stage.
"You know, Mr. Perry just got into the presidential race. I think that everybody who runs for president, it probably takes them a little bit of time before they start realizing that this isn't like running for governor or running for senator or running for Congress, and you've got to be a little more careful about what you say," Obama told Blitzer. "But I'll cut him some slack. He's only been at it for a few days now."
You can watch his comments below, courtesy CNN:
Asked about Obama's comments at a political event in New Hampshire Wednesday morning, Perry laughed it off, saying his record on job creation in Texas is better than Obama's record in the White House.
"Mr. President, actions speak louder than words," Perry said.
But Perry wasn't the only candidate Obama criticized in his interview with CNN. Asked about the ex-Massachusetts governor's comment last week that "corporations are people," Obama acknowledged that corporations are "vital to American life" and that corporate CEOs and their employees are working to the "benefit" of the country. But he said that's the only point on which where he and Romney agree.
"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, that asking oil and gas companies, for example, not to get special exemptions that other folks don't get, and that if we're closing those tax loopholes somehow that that is going to hurt America, then that I disagree with," Obama told CNN.
Still, asked about the GOP field, Obama insisted he's not paying that much attention.
"I haven't been giving it too much thought," he said. "I figure that I'll let them winnow it down a little bit. When they decide who they want their standard bearer to be, then I'll be ready for them."
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