Trump shrugs off Obama’s debate critique: ‘He can’t handle the country’


President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama. (Photos: Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump dismissed President Barack Obama's mocking of the the GOP presidential candidates' criticism of the CNBC moderators in the last debate.

Trump, whose campaign decided to continue dealing directly with the TV networks rather than forming a united front with other presidential campaigns, said Tuesday that he "doesn't care too much" about the debate format, instead knocking Obama's handling of the country.

"They've been hitting me one way or the other. I just want to have the debates. I like the debates. They can ask tough questions. ... I just want to answer the questions and be done with it, frankly," Trump said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Of Obama's criticism, Trump added, "He can't handle the country. He's doing a terrible job running the country."

Obama ripped into the GOP's field of 2016 hopefuls on Monday night, noting that while they've knocked him for being "weak" on the international stage, "it turns out they can't handle a bunch of CNBC moderators."

"Let me tell you, if you can't handle those guys, then I don't think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you," Obama quipped at a Democratic fundraiser.

Trump also addressed his 2016 competitor Ben Carson's surge in the polls, noting that Carson "just doesn't have the experience" or the "temperament" to lead the country on the economic front and international stage.

Carson has now overtaken Trump in the two most recent national polls conducted by CBS/New York Times and NBC/Wall Street Journal. The NBC/WSJ poll released Monday night, but conducted largely before the last debate, put Carson ahead by 6 percentage points.

As for the man Trump once considered his chief rival for the nomination, Trump called on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to follow Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's lead and drop out.

"He has no chance," Trump said of Bush, whose campaign has been struggling of late. "He's wasting his time."

Trump was also asked on Fox News on Tuesday about whether he would consider giving the vice presidential nod to any of his fellow Republican contenders. He gave the same answer he's given in recent days: He's got a few in mind, but it's too early to share his thoughts on that.

Trump also lobbed attacks at Sen. Marco Rubio, whose stock is on the rise, once again calling him "overrated" and a "lightweight."

"I think Putin would eat him alive," Trump said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump suggested that Bush -- whom Tump has branded as "low-energy" -- has a "much better message" than Rubio, but "the way Bush delivers a message is so sad."

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