U.S. President Barack Obama returned fire at Donald Trump after the Republican presidential candidate called him a weaker leader than Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Obama at a Democratic rally in Philadelphia on September 13 pointed out that Trump "just last week went on Russian state television to talk down our military and to curry favor with Vladimir Putin," whom Trump last week praised as a better leader than Obama.
"Can you imagine Ronald Reagan idolizing somebody like that?" Obama said, invoking the former U.S. president revered by most Republicans.
"He loves this guy," Obama said. "Think about what's happened to the Republican Party. They used to be opposed to Russia and authoritarianism -- and [supported] fighting for freedom and fighting for democracy."
Now, the Republican nominee "is out there praising a guy, saying he's a strong leader because he invades smaller countries, jails his opponents, controls the press, and drives his economy into a long recession."
Obama said, "I have to do business with Putin, I have to do business with Russia, but that's part of foreign policy... But I don't go around saying, 'That's my role model.'"
Based on reporting by dpa, AFP, and AP