President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe bully who pulls the levers of Trump's mind never learns US-China space cooperation is up in the air more than ever GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level MORE is afraid of acting in a way that would spur voters to view him as weak on defense, a top Democrat charged Wednesday.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said the president was "intimidated" by certain issues, particularly an effort by Frank and a few other lawmakers in both parties to rein in defense spending.

"It's the one area where I'm disappointed in the president," Frank said Tuesday evening during an appearance on MSNBC. "I think he gets intimidated by this notion of, 'Oh, you'll look weak on defense.' "

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Frank unveiled recommendations last month from a task force he assembled that recommended ways to seriously slash the defense budget, one of the largest portions of yearly government spending, in the long term. The veteran lawmaker said the cuts would allow the U.S. to tighten is budgetary belt while weaning off other nations that depend too much on the U.S. to provide for their defense.

Indeed, Obama has taken steps to rein in federal spending, instructing departments and agencies to identify ways to cut their budgets during the next fiscal year. But the president has specifically exempted spending related to defense or national security from those cuts.

The president's fiscal commission might recommend some savings to be found in the defense budget, however, when it releases its recommendations on how to balance the budget to Congress at the end of this year.

Frank said he was hopeful the ballooning deficit would, in the meanwhile, allow colleagues to pay more attention to defense spending.

"So I think the need to make some tough choices will finally focus my colleagues on this," he said.