American voters should "take seriously" remarks made by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and other presidential candidates, U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday.
"This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show," Obama told reporters during a briefing at the White House.
When asked specifically about Trump, the president said all presidential candidates should be "subject to exacting standards and genuine scrutiny."
Obama expressed concern about the quality of media coverage the presidential candidates have received. He said emphasizing the "spectacle and the circus" is not something the U.S. can afford.
The president, meanwhile, said he is not prepared to urge Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to suspend his campaign. But he acknowledged Sanders' prospects are slim. Rival Hillary Clinton holds a commanding lead over Sanders with more than 300 pledged candidates.
Obama said regardless of who wins the Democratic presidential nomination, the primary issues will remain the same.
"The good news is that there is a pretty strong consensus within the Democratic Party on the vast majority of issues," he said.
The president believes the most effective way for Democrats to campaign against Trump is by emphasizing the number of Obama's key proposals that have been blocked by Republicans in Congress. Core Democratic priorities such as health care and rebuilding the U.S. infrastructure "continue to be prescriptions that would really help."
Obama added, "I want Democrats to feel confident about policy prescriptions we are putting forward and the contrast will be pretty clear."