In a news conference in Ethiopia, President Barack Obama responded at length to Mike Huckabee's comment that the Iran deal is marching Israelis to "the door of the oven" — saying it was part of a pattern of attacks that "would be ridiculous if it wasn't so sad."
Without naming names, Obama said a senator who is a presidential candidate — an apparent reference to Texas Republican Ted Cruz — had said the president was a leading state sponsor of terrorism and another had referred to Secretary of State John Kerry as Pontius Pilate, a reference to remarks by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. Obama said part of what made the United States great is that previously lawmakers considered foreign policy and issues of war and peace too serious for that sort of ad hominem attack.
He trained fire on Donald Trump, too.
"Maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines, but it's not the kind of leadership that's needed for America right now," Obama said.
He also referenced Trump's attack on John McCain's heroism. He decried a culture that encourages that sort of attack, and noted that even though many Republicans defended McCain, when similar attacks are made against the president, those same people tend to be quiet.
Obama specifically referenced the upcoming elections and noted he'll be leaving the White House in 18 months.
"I want to make sure I'm turning over the keys to someone who's serious about the problems" the country is facing, he said.