President Obama said Monday night the Republican candidates for president would be no match for Russian President Vladimir Putin because they couldn’t even handle the moderators in their televised debate last week.
“They say, ‘When I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out’ … And then it turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators,” Mr. Obama told supporters at a Democratic fundraiser in New York City.
The president added, “If you can’t handle those guys, I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you.”
Several candidates, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, criticized the CNBC moderators for asking inconsequential and hostile questions at the debate last week.
The Republican National Committee responded by ending its partnership with NBC in another upcoming debate. During the 2008 presidential cycle, the Democratic primary field, which included Mr. Obama, refused to participate in any debate sponsored by Fox News Channel, forcing its cancellation even before it happened.
The fundraiser was held at the Richard Rodgers Theater in Manhattan. Among those in the audience were Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and actors Kerry Washington and Vincent D’Onofrio.