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VIENTIANE (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama hit back at Donald Trump on Thursday for criticizing his foreign policy record, saying the Republican nominee was unfit to follow him into the Oval Office and the public should press him on his “outright wacky ideas”.

Speaking in Laos at the end of the second of two Asian summits, Obama said the tycoon’s lack of leadership credentials was exposed whenever he spoke and American voters were aware of that.

“I don’t think the guy’s qualified to be president of the United States, and every time he speaks, that opinion is confirmed,” Obama told a news conference.

“The most important thing for the public and the press is to just listen to what he says and follow up and ask questions about what appear to be either contradictory or uninformed, or outright wacky, ideas.”

Trump declared on Wednesday during a televised forum attended by military veterans that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been a better leader than Obama.

Trump said the progress of U.S. military generals had been stymied, or “reduced to rubble” with Obama as commander-in-chief and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as his first secretary of state. It was the first time Trump and Clinton had squared off on the same stage since securing their nominations in July.

Obama said he believed his foreign policy legacy would be one of success, particularly his so-called “rebalance” to Asia. He said Asian leaders would be puzzled by Trump’s remarks, and Americans would know who to choose as president on Nov. 8.

“I have confidence that if, in fact, people just listen to what he had to say, look at his track record or lack thereof, that they’ll make a good decision,” he said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Martin Petty; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference at the conclusion of his participation in the ASEAN Summits in Vientiane, Laos September 8, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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