President Obama on Tuesday issued his strongest warning yet about the Republican candidates for president with a two-word message on why voters should choose solemnly
Bluntly questioning front-runner Donald Trump's temperament, Obama said, "Whoever is standing where I'm standing right now has the nuclear codes with them and can order 21-year-olds into a firefight."
The American people are pretty sensible," Obama said. "And I think they'll make a sensible choice in the end."
Though he referred specifically to Trump, Obama also took care to warn about all of the GOP candidates.
"Not a single one of them" is talking about some of the world's biggest problems, he said.
The words represented Obama's most energetic criticism of the Republicans running to replace him. For months, he has mostly kept a studied distance from the fray and resisted invitations to engage in political analysis.
"I have a lot of faith in the American people. And I think they recognize that being president is a serious job," he said. "It's not hosting a talk show or a reality show. It's not promotion. It's not marketing. It's hard. And a lot of people count on us getting it right."
Obama also downplayed the fight on the Democratic side between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, saying there was broad agreement in his party on principles but "a difference in tactics, trying to figure out how do you actually get things done."
Obama said he might eventually express his view in the race but that "for now I think it's important for Democratic voters to express themselves and for the candidates to be run through the paces."
"The thing I can say unequivocally," he said, "is I am not unhappy that I'm not on the ballot."