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Obama Chides Republican Field, Saying CNBC Is No Putin

President Barack Obama poked fun at the Republicans on Monday night, suggesting that they were ill-prepared to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin if they struggled with a couple of CNBC debate moderators.

“Have you noticed that every one of these candidates says, ‘Obama’s weak. Putin’s kicking sand in his face. When I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out’?” Mr. Obama asked a crowd of Democratic donors in New York, referring to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

“And then it turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators at a debate,” he added to huge applause from his partisan audience. “I mean, let me tell you,” he added with gleeful scorn, “if you can’t handle those guys, you know, then I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you.”

The New York Times reports:

The president was in campaign mode even though he is not running as he headlined a pair of Democratic fund-raisers in New York. He started in the seventh-floor apartment of Jonathan Soros, the hedge fund investor and son of George Soros, the prominent liberal donor. Then he headed to the Richard Rodgers Theater, where Democrats were holding another fund-raiser in tandem with a performance of the hit musical “Hamilton.”

In addressing the second crowd, Mr. Obama, as he often does, recited a list of what he considers his greatest accomplishments. They include an improved economy, a rescued auto industry and a program allowing young immigrants who are in the country illegally to stay.

“But I don’t know if the Republicans who are running for this office know any of these things,” the president said. “Because they occupy a different reality, it seems. According to them, everything was really good in 2008 when we were going through the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.”

“This apparently was the golden age that I messed up,” he added mockingly.

But even as he addressed a partisan audience, Mr. Obama found common ground with the other side. He noted that he wished he had been able to see “Hamilton,” which is based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, again with the donors. “Michelle and I love this show,” he said. “It also happens to be the only thing Dick Cheney and I agree on.”

Photo credit: Zach Gibson.

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