With rivals to challenge him in 2012 berating his performance on a daily basis, President Barack Obama made the case for his re-election Sunday, arguing that it doesn’t matter who the Republicans nominate to run against him because the core philosophy of the GOP candidates is the same and will stand in sharp relief with his own.

“I didn’t overpromise. And I didn’t underestimate how tough this was going to be,” Obama told CBS’s Steve Kroft during a 60 Minutes interview filmed during two sit-downs over the last week, one in Washington and one from Osawatomie Kansas. POLITICO notes the President’s remarks that aired Sunday:

“The vision he offered in 2008 was something he ‘always believed … was a long-term project,’ Obama told Kroft. ‘Reversing a culture here in Washington, dominated by special interests, it was going to take more than a year, it was going to take more than two years. It was going to take more than one term.’

He also acknowledged something he’s rarely said, that it ‘probably takes more than one president’ to affect the kind of change he speaks about, but he, nonetheless, intends to keep fighting for it.

He rejected Republican criticism that his economic policies amount to class warfare, saying he is simply trying to restore an “American deal” that focuses on building a strong middle class.

In a major speech in Osawatomie, Kan., this week, Obama argued that even before the recent recession hit, Americans at the top of the income scale grew wealthier while others struggled and racked up debt. He also has called for spending on jobs initiatives and for an extension of a payroll tax cut that would be paid for by increasing taxes on taxpayers who make $1 million or more.

“There are going to be people who say, `This is the socialist Obama and he’s come out of the closet,’” Obama said.

But he added: “The problem is that our politics has gotten to the point, where we can’t have an honest conversation about the greatest income inequality since the 1920s. And we can’t have an honest conversation about the irresponsibility that resulted in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, without somebody saying that somehow we’re being divisive.”

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