In October, Salon's own Sean Illing wrote about GOP front-runner Donald Trump's "man-crush" on Russian President Vladimir Putin -- on Thursday, Putin revealed that crush is mutual, telling reporters attending his annual news conference that he believes Trump is "a very outstanding man, unquestionably talented."
He warned that it's not his place "to judge his virtue, that is up to the US voters, but he is the absolutely leader of the presidential race." Putin also said that even if Trump isn't elected, Russia remains open to working "with any president chosen by the American people."
However, he did really seem to be hoping it would be Trump. "He says that he wants a different level of relations, tighter and deeper relations with Russia," the Russian president said, before asking, "How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it."
Putin also followed in the footsteps of Bill O'Reilly, who last night claimed that you can't believe what Trump says, because he doesn't "literally" mean it. "On domestic politics, his manner of speaking, what he employs to raise his popularity," Putin said, that's "not our concern."
For his part, in the debate Wednesday, Trump indicated, once again, that he thinks he'd "get along" with Putin. "I will get along, I think, with Putin, and I will get along with others, and we will have a much more stable world," Trump said. "I would talk to him, I would get along with him."
Russian-speakers can listen to Putin's comment below.