President Obama recently jabbed the Republican candidates saying that if they couldn't handle the CNBC moderators then how could they be expected to handle Russia's president Putin. That's disingenuous and a patently false comparison. here's why.
1) The situation with a foreign leader is an entirely different dynamic. A debate on stage in front of cameras is not how any of those candidates would have to face Putin, North Korea or China. The context is different, the options are different and the goals and expected/desired outcome is entirely different. In a debate you want to look appealing. In dealing with Putin what appeals to Americans is the outcome, not the methods of the eventual president in getting to that outcome. In dealing with Putin you are in a negotiation. A debate is not a negotiation.
2) The opponent's approach is different. In dealing with Putin, the president is not faced with gotcha questions, and even if Putin took that approach, there is no need for the president to have to answer specifically. In a debate you are beholden to the questioners to an extent that you are not with a foreign leader.
3) Probably most importantly, it did not appear that any candidate was not able to handle the moderators. They stood up and pointed out the unfair questioning and took the moderators to task for it. There's a reason that got the biggest amount of applause. The weak thing to do would have been to shut up, stand there and take it. The dumb thing to do would be to fall for it and slag the other candidates based on the line of questioning. Most candidates did not do that.
4) The source of the criticism is not credible. This is coming from the guy who backed down on missiles in Eastern Europe, the Crimea, Ukraine, etc.? Really? In addition the president has never had to face a tough question in his life.
All that said, the GOP should ignore it entirely. Obama is yesterday's president as far as they are concerned. He's not on the ticket. Hillary Clinton likely will be. So focus. Let the punditry continue to discredit this used car salesman president.