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Obama on Republicans softening on Putin: 'Reagan would roll over in his grave

President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the briefing room of the White House Friday. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

During a press conference at the White House Friday, outgoing President Barack Obama offered some comments about the positive outlook on Russian President Vladimir Putin that has been growing in Republican circles.

Obama seemed both bemused and amused as he spoke about some Republicans going soft, and some going silent, on the former head of the KGB.

"And some folks who had made a career out of being anti-Russian didn't say anything about it," Obama said to the press. "And then after the election, suddenly they're asking, 'Why didn't you tell us that maybe the Russians were trying to help our candidate?'" Obama paused, then continued with a smile, "Come on."

"There was a survey some of you saw, where — now this is just one poll, but a pretty credible source — 37 percent of Republican voters approve of Putin," the president continued. "Over a third of Republican voters approve of Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB."

"Ronald Reagan would roll over in his grave," he said.

Obama went on to blame Putin's improving approval numbers on partisan politics, saying it happened because "everything is seen through the lens of 'does this help or hurt us relative to Democrats or relative to President Obama?'"

A YouGov poll recently showed that Republican's approval of Putin has risen by an astonishing 56 points from a net favorability rating of -66 to a net favorability rating of -10.

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