President Obama again criticized GOP candidates Tuesday night for saying they would act tough when it comes to dealing with other foreign leaders, but not being able to handle hardball questions in a televised debate.

"Some of the Republican candidates say they're so tough they're going to stare down the Chinese and the Russians, and somehow CNBC scares them," Obama told Lester Holt in a NBC Nightly News interview.

The president echoed the same message he had shared Monday night in a speech he made at a Democratic National Committee event in New York.

"Have you noticed that every one of these candidates say, Obama is weak. Putin is kicking sand in his face. 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 at a debate," Obama said, according to press pool notes.

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