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Gingrich: Dog debate "utterly stupid"

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, speaks at Delmarva Christian High School in Georgetown, Del., Wednesday, April 18, 2012. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

(CBS News) WILMINGTON, Del. - Newt Gingrich on Wednesday chastised as "utterly stupid" a Twitter debate between top aides to President Obama and Mitt Romney over the two campaigns' respective controversial histories with canines.

Keynoting the Delaware Rail Splitters' monthly meeting at Timothy's Restaurant here, Gingrich said one reason he continues to seek the Republican nomination despite the odds is "to somehow re-arouse that conversation in the American people that... this is a country with really big problems. And we have a president who deliberately trivializes politics into junk because as long as it is distracting us from the real problems, he is better off. Because when you get to the real problems, he has no answers."

One of those distractions, the former House speaker continued, is a particular back-and-forth over Twitter between Obama adviser David Axelrod and Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom.

In January, Axelrod Tweeted a photo of the Obamas' dog Bo riding in an armored vehicle with the president; a contrast to the infamous Romney vacation during which the family's dog rode atop the car. Three months later, after a conservative blogger pointed out that Obama admitted in his book "Dreams of my Father" that he once ate dog meat in Indonesia, Fehrnstom on Tuesday jumped at the chance to revisit the image of Bo, adding this commentary to his own Twitter account: "In hindsight, a chilling photo."

Gingrich used the spat as a reason to rally the Republican cause, lamenting, "I have been watching the totally stupid exchanges between Axelrod and the Romney people today over dogs and this and that - it is just utterly stupid," he said.

"I think we ought to be the serious party and we ought to blow right past that stuff," Gingrich continued. "I think in that context, the more serious we are, and the more sincere we are, the better we will do as a party and the better we will do as a country and I believe the American people are hungry for leadership that transcends the normal junk."

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