ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- On his first day in Ethiopia, President Obama waded into the 2016 presidential campaign, criticizing Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for suggesting the president is trying to push Israelis to the "door of the oven" with Iran nuclear deal.
“The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are I think part of just a general pattern we’ve seen ... that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad," the president said in a news conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“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,” the president added.
The president was responding to comments made by Huckabee in an interview with Breitbart News on Saturday.
“This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history,” Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, told Breitbart News on SiriusXM Patriot. "He's so naive he would trust the Iranians and he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven. This is the most idiot thing.”
Alice Stewart, a spokeswoman for Huckabee, tweeted a response from the former Arkansas governor to the president's criticism.
"What's 'ridiculous and sad' is that President Obama does not take Iran's repeated threats seriously," Huckabee responded. "For decades, Iranian leaders have pledged to 'destroy,' 'annihilate,' and 'wipe Israel off the map' with a 'big Holocaust.' 'Never again' will be the policy of my administration and I will stand with our ally Israel to prevent the terrorists in Tehran from achieving their own stated goal of another Holocaust."
The president also took aim at Donald Trump's recent comments challenging the heroism of Sen. John McCain, who was a POW in Vietnam.
“The Republican Party is shocked and yet that arises out of a culture where those kinds of outrageous attacks become far too commonplace and get circulated non-stop," Obama said.
“We are creating a culture that is not conducive to good policy and good politics," Obama said. "The American people deserve better. Certainly presidential debates deserve better.”