(CNN) – President Obama said early Tuesday that he hopes Republican leaders "realize that there will be plenty of time to campaign for 2012 in 2012."
During a surprise visit to the press cabin aboard Air Force One on his way back from his vacation in Hawaii, Obama said he hopes to build on the progress made during last month's lame-duck session.
"My hope is that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell will realize that there will be plenty of time to campaign for 2012 in 2012. And that our job this year is to make sure that we build on recovery," Obama said.
On Monday, House Republicans announced that they plan to address one of their top campaign issues – repealing the health care reform law - immediately after taking control of the House, and that a final vote on a repeal will likely take place next Wednesday.
Obama did not specifically address the GOP's plans, but acknowledged, "there's gonna be politics, that's what happens in Washington" when asked if he expects a chilly reception from the new Republican majority.
"They are going to play to their base for a certain period of time. But I'm pretty confident that they're going to recognize that our job is to govern and make sure that we are delivering jobs for the American people and that we are creating a competitive economy for the 21st Century," Obama said.