WASHINGTON (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin had a bit part in the latest Republican presidential debate as two of the candidates tried to indicate they had an inside track with the Kremlin leader.
During the debate Tuesday, billionaire businessman Donald Trump declared himself a "stablemate" with Putin because both were on the same TV program -- once and thousands of miles (kilometers) apart. Former chief executive Carly Fiorina claimed a "private meeting" with Putin, but the setting was a holding room where they sat before giving speeches.
Speaking of Putin, Trump said: "I got to know him very well because we were both on '60 Minutes,' we were stablemates, and we did very well that night. But, you know that."
Fiorina said the U.S. is currently in a weak position with Russia and that is "one of the reasons I've said that I would not be talking to Vladimir Putin right now, although I have met him as well, not in a green room for a show, but in a private meeting."
At least Fiorina actually had a chance meeting with Putin -- in a holding room before she and the Russian leader addressed a Beijing conference in 2001. During a September appearance on "The Tonight Show," she described how they sat in adjacent chairs for 45 minutes while they each waited to speak.
Trump's only connection to the Russian leader was the television show. He was interviewed in New York, Putin in Moscow, and they weren't even in the same segment on the program.
Associated Press writers Christopher S. Rugaber and Josh Boak contributed to this report.