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Gingrich defends wife's shopping at Tiffany's

Callista Gingrich's shopping habits are in the spotlight again after the wife of Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was spotted recently perusing the counters of Tiffany's in Tyson's Corner, Virginia.

"Isn't that stupid?" Gingrich said in an interview with CBSNews.com on Wednesday when asked about the reports. "These are stores that have a wide range of things you can buy. She has girlfriends with birthdays."

Characterizing the issue as "totally irrelevant," Gingrich blamed President Obama for "dangerously infecting" the country with "a class warfare rhetoric that strikes at the very heart of being American."

Gingrich added: "The question in America is -- do we try to level up by giving everybody a chance to do better or do we do what Barack Obama wants and have class warfare and level everybody down so everybodys poor?"

Last May, soon after Gingrich formally announced his presidential bid, news broke that he and his wife had a credit line at the high-end jewelry store of up to half a million dollars.

Gingrich said on "Face the Nation" at the time that he was "very frugal." "We, in fact, live within our budget. We owe nothing."

But pressed Tuesday on how Americans, increasing upset by the disparity between the wealthiest and middle class, could relate to Gingrich, the former Speaker said he didn't think "politicians or the news media have the right to decide how people spend."

He also noted that "all of the candidates who are running for president are reasonably well-off."

"Our goal has to be to bring everybody into the American dream," Gingrich said. "I hope everybody gets to go to the place they want to go to spend the money they earn."

Gingrich did sympathize with Americans' frustrations on economic issues, stressing his own flat tax plan. "I've had members of my family who have been out of work for a year," Gingrich said. "I understand that its very important for all of us to have a chance to go to work."