By James Hibberd
Updated October 25, 2011 at 08:41 PM EDT

President Obama expressed some regret about the manner in which Muammar Gaddafi died and claimed he’s not paying attention to the GOP race on NBC’s Tuesday edition of The Tonight Show.

Sitting down with Jay Leno, the president first gave his reaction to the Libyan dictator’s violent death:

“Well, this is somebody who, for 40 years, has terrorized his country and supported terrorism,” Obama said. “And he had an opportunity during the Arab spring to finally gave him ample opportunity, and he wouldn’t do it. And, obviously, you never like to see anybody come to the kind of end that he did, but I think it obviously sends a strong message around the world to dictators that people long to be free, and they need to respect the human rights and the universal aspirations of people.”

Asked about Republican leader Mitch McConnell saying he wanted to make him a one-term president, Obama claimed he’s not paying attention to the GOP race.

“I’m going to wait until everybody is voted off the island,” he said. “Once they narrow it down to one or two, I’ll start paying attention.”

On tonight’s episode, Obama also talks about the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, Hilary Clinton as his Secretary of State, the NBA lockout and one of his favorite types of junk food.

Come back to later tonight for Ken Tucker’s review of the entire interview.

Read more: