NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- President Barack Obama looked to steal a slice of the Super Tuesday spotlight as he gave his first press conference in 2012. "I understand there are some political contests going on tonight," Obama said.
Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul face each other in 10 primary states on a day when a sweep could virtually end the GOP race and determine an opponent for Obama. Reporters asked for Obama's response to Romney's criticism that he is the most "feckless" president since Jimmy Carter: "Good luck tonight," Obama smiled. "Really." Obama's prepared remarks concerned
housing relief for U.S. veterans and a new blueprint for borrowers looking to refinance their homes . The first question from reporters, however, asked about U.S. diplomacy in Iran and Syria. Obama turned the question into what sounded like an early campaign-mode response as he took a swipe at his aspirant Republican opponents who have questioned his handling of these matters. "What's said on the campaign trail, those folks don't have a lot of responsibilities; they aren't commander-in-chief," Obama said. Romney spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference on Tuesday and criticized the president about his Iran policies. "Of course, the administration's naïve outreach to Iran gave the ayatollahs exactly what they wanted most," Romney said. "It gave them time. Whatever sanctions they may now belatedly impose, Iran has already gained three invaluable years." Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to say that the U.S. had Israel's back on its ability to defend itself against Iran. Republicans have slammed the president as not showing enough support for the U.S. ally threatened by the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.
"Under a Santorum administration, we would find no gap between Israel and the United States because our interests are united," Santorum said Tuesday at AIPAC. "From everything I've seen from the conduct of this administration, he has turned his back on the people of Israel." Regardless of where Romney, Santorum and the other Republican hopefuls stood against Obama on Super Tuesday, it was the president who grabbed substantial national air time to reinforce his messages on potentially crucial election issues. -- Written by Joe Deaux in New York. >Contact by Email. >Follow Joe Deaux on Twitter. Subscribe on Facebook.