President Barack Obama, admitting he can let loose a little in the twilight of his presidency, got candid on Monday about a recent conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to Obama, Putin objected to how he was portrayed in a recent article in The Atlantic about Obama's foreign policy.
"Unlike you, Vladimir, I don't get to edit the piece before it's published," Obama recalled telling him, a reference to Putin's control of Russian media.
Obama, delivering the keynote address at the ceremony for the Robin Toner Prize, which honors outstanding political journalism, also shared his dismay with the tenor of the 2016 presidential race, a favorite topic.
"I wouldn't call it a carnival atmosphere, because that implies fun," he said.
"The number one question I am getting as I travel around the world and talk to world leaders is, 'What is happening in America?!' They understand that America is the one place in the world where you can't afford crazy politics."
Without specifically naming him, Obama called out the media's treatment of the real estate mogul Donald Trump's campaign. He criticized how much attention Trump receives, particularly from cable news networks.
"A job well done is about more than just handing someone a microphone," Obama said.
Unlike Trump, who frequently antagonizes the press, Obama praised journalists, calling them an important part of American democracy and telling them that while he may not always agree with their reporting, "you help me do my job better."
He marveled that a movie about investigative journalism, "Spotlight," won the Oscar for Best Picture last month, and reminded reporters that the work that they do will endure.
Good journalism "matters more than ever, and by the way, lasts longer than some slap-dash tweet that slides off our screens in the blink of an eye," he said.
Obama, in his final year in office, has spoken off the cuff about a range of topics, especially his views on the media and this year's campaign. His comments about the media's treatment of Trump and the divisive rhetoric of the GOP presidential race echoed earlier statements about his regret "that the tone of our politics has gotten worse."
Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist