On his five state tour to tout American manufacturing and energy development, President Obama took some time to talk politics. In an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer in Las Vegas, Mr. Obama said he's going to "fight as hard as I can" to be reelected to a second term.
"Whoever wins the Republican primary is going to be a standard bearer for a vision of the country that I don't think reflects who we are," Mr. Obama said. "I'm going to fight as hard as I can with every fiber of my being to make sure that we continue on a path that I think will restore the American dream."
He said both Republican front-runners, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, are fundamentally wrong about how to invigorate the economy.
"The larger point is this: That there's going to be a debate over the next eight, nine, 10 months about how to move the country forward," he told ABC. "They've got an argument. They will make it forcefully. I think it's an argument that is wrong."
When Sawyer asked if he will win the election, he gave an emphatic "yes." He wants to win "badly," the president responded, "because I think the country needs it."
Mr. Obama delivered his third State of the Union speech this week and then hit the road to promote his ideas. But in this election year, his speech and multi-state tour is widely recognized as the unofficial start to his campaign.
But White House spokesperson Jay Carney disputed that. He told reporters Friday that the president ''didn't deliver a campaign speech."
The Republican candidates aren't only hitting each other, but are taking the time to criticize the president. Mr. Obama addressed Gingrich's statement that he's responsible for an increase in food stamp recipients.
"First of all, I don't put people on food stamps," Mr. Obama told Sawyer. "People become eligible for food stamps. Second of all, the initial expansion of food-stamp eligibility happened under my Republican predecessor, not under me. No. 3, when you have a disastrous economic crash that results in 8 million people losing their jobs, more people are going to need more support from government."
Mr. Obama also took a dig at three of the four final GOP contenders.
"I think whether it's Romney or Gingrich or Santorum or any of these folks, the question to ask them is we now have the lowest tax rates in 50 years," Mr. Obama told ABC. "We've seen the highest increase in income for the very top echelons since the 1920s. And if, in fact, we're going to reduce our deficit while still investing in those things that we know make America grow, somebody's got to pay for it," he said.