U.S. Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton has ripped into her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, saying his praise for Russia's president was "insulting" and "scary."
Clinton made her remarks on September 8, one day after the two contenders appeared at a security forum to discuss some of the foreign-policy challenges the United States is facing.
During the September 7 forum, Trump attacked President Barack Obama and repeated his praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"The man has very strong control over a country," Trump said about Putin.
"It's a very different system and I don't happen to like the system, but certainly, in that system, he's been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader," he said.
Clinton told reporters in New York that Trump's statement was "not just unpatriotic and insulting to the people of our country as well as to our commander in chief, it is scary. Because it suggests he will let Putin do whatever Putin wants to do and then make excuses for him."
Trump has been criticized frequently for seeming to heap praise on Putin and other strongmen.
At the televised forum, Trump was unapologetic, and said he was happy to take a compliment from Putin, who during a news conference in December called Trump "talented" and "yarkiy" -- a Russian word that is used to describe a person who is colorful and stands out but, at the time, was translated by some news organizations as "brilliant."
Trump was also asked how he would de-escalate tensions between the United States and Russia if he was elected to the White House. He responded by saying he would have a "very, very good" relationship with Russia
He also argued that Moscow wanted to destroy Islamic State (IS) militants as much as Washington does, and repeated his intention to work with Russia to defeat the group in Iraq and Syria.
"If we had a relationship with Russia, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could work on it together and knock the hell out of [IS]?" he asked.
Meanwhile, Obama offered his own blunt criticism of Trump, saying the billionaire real estate tycoon proves he isn't qualified to be president "every time he speaks."
"The most important thing for the public and the press is to just listen to what [Trump] says and follow up and ask questions to what appear to be either contradictory or uninformed or outright whacky ideas," Obama told reporters during a stop on his nine-day tour of Southeast Asia.
With reporting by AP