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"I feel sad for the country to have a president who is in complete denial about what's happening in the Middle East," the Republican presidential contender told Fox News, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin's moves in the Middle East. The comments follow Obama's denial in a Sunday night CBS interview that Russia is the new leader in the region.

According to the Florida senator, Putin is taking advantage of Obama's weak Middle East policies, taking over as the major outside power in the region by claiming Moscow is more reliable than Washington.

"He is directly challenging Barack Obama and, as a result, undermining America's influence in the Middle East and in the broader world," Rubio told Greta Van Susteren. "The rest of the world is watching this too."

And when it comes to arming Syrian rebels fighting against Assad, the president moved too late, Rubio claimed.

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