President Obama speaks about Russia, Ronald Reagan and Republicans at his end of the year briefing:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Mr. Putin can weaken us like he's trying to weaken Europe, if we start buying notions into intimidating the press or lock up dissidents or discriminate against people because of their faith or what they look like and what I worry about more than anything is the agree to which because of the fierceness because of the partisan battle, you start to see certain folks in the Republican party and Republican voters suddenly finding a government and individuals who stand contrary to everything that we stand for as being okay because that's how much we dislike Democrats. Think about it.
Some of the people who historically have been very critical of me for engaging with the Russians and having conversations with them, also endorsed the president-elect even as he was saying that we should stop sanctioning Russia and being tough on them and work together with them against our common enemies. It was very complimentary of Mr. Putin personally. That wasn't news. The president-elect during the campaign said so and some folks who had made a career out of being anti-Russian didn't say anything about it. And then after the election, suddenly they're asking, oh, why didn't you tell us that maybe the Russians were trying to help our candidate?
Well, come on. There was a survey some of you saw where -- it's just one poll, but pretty credible source, 37% of Republican voters approve of Putin. A third of Republican voters approve of Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB. Ronald Reagan would roll over in his grave. And how did that happen? It happened in part because for too long everything that happens in this town, everything that's said is seen through the lens does it help or hurt us or relative to Democrats or relative to President Obama. And unless that changes, we are going to continue to be vulnerable to foreign influence because we have lost track of what it's about and what we stand for.