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President Obama sizes up his Republican competition

December 11, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
President Barack Obama is weighing in on the Republican presidential field.

He says the current frontrunners, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, are both polished politicians.

In an interview with "60 Minutes" Sunday night, President Obama said he's ready for whoever the Republicans throw his way.

"It doesn't really matter who the nominee is going to be," the president said. "The core philosophy they're expressing is the same. And the contrast in visions between where I want to take the country and where they say they want to take the country is going to be stark."

The president's comments came a day after a contentious Republican debate in Iowa.

GOP candidates turned their sights on Gingrich, who has emerged as the front-runner after Herman Cain withdrew his bid.

The Gingrich buzz is no small thing, given that Gingrich was the primary target of attacks Saturday night.

"If you cheat on your wife, you'll cheat on your business partner," Rick Perry said about Gingrich.

Perry misquoted Romney on health care, which snowballed to an even bigger problem for Romney.

"I read your first book and it said in there that your mandate in Massachusetts ... should be the model for the country," Perry said.

"You're simply wrong," Romney fired back. "I'll tell you what: $10,000 bucks. $10,000 bet?"

That sum is more than two months income for the average Iowa family.

Twitter exploded with comments about how out of touch the wager was, and more than half a day later, Perry thought of a comeback, saying $10,000 was just pocket change for Romney.

The Democratic National Committee is seizing on Romney's remark. Its chairman called it "the most out-of-touch moment in any debates so far."

Perry was swarmed by supporters Sunday in Ames, Iowa. It was proof there's still life in his struggling campaign.

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