How relevant was O'Reilly's interview with Obama?

Published: Monday, Feb. 3 2014 11:20 a.m. MST

Longtime CNN commentator Lou Dobbs, left, who resigned from the cable network last week after working there for 29 years, speaks to Bill O'Reilly at the start of a segment for Fox News channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," in New York, Monday, in this Nov. 16, 2009 file photo.

Kathy Willens, Associated Press

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President Barack Obama faced some tough questions on Sunday in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, as reported by Politico. The president dismissed much of the criticism of him that O’Reilly pointed out and blamed the Fox News channel as the source of such disapproval.

“These kinds of things keep on surfacing in part because you and your TV station will promote them,” Obama told O’Reilly.

According to the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, O’Reilly “aced” Obama in the pre-game interview. O’Reilly questioned him on an array of topics including Benghazi, the IRS scandal and the Healthcare.gov rollout. Wemple wrote that Obama never really answered any of the topics O'Reilly brought up.

The president prattled around, not really answering any of the questions O’Reilly had for him, according to Adrienne Ross of Breitbart. Although O’Reilly attempted to walk the thin line of asking tough questions and respecting the office of the presidency, the president looked tense and uncomfortable, preferring to blame Fox News rather than answer the questions.

“No doubt accustomed to more softball questions from the media, Obama seemed perturbed at times by O'Reilly's queries, and he blamed Bill and Fox News for the distrust Americans have for him — odd since he could have taken advantage of this opportunity to clarify his positions by actually answering the questions,” wrote Ross. “He chose, instead, to deflect.”

On the issue of the IRS targeting tea party affiliated 501(c)4 groups, the president “doubled down” on his denial of any corruption, according to the Daily Caller's Brendan Bordelon. Obama told O’Reilly that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption.”

Bordelon wrote that the president “dismissed all the outrage over a simple ‘list’ made by IRS bureaucrats to make their jobs easier.”

On a different note, according to Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast, the interview was a non-event. “It was mostly like both of them were actors playing ‘Barack Obama’ and ‘Bill O’Reilly.’ Going through the motions,” Tomasky wrote.

Tomasky also specualted why all the questions were about the past and nothing about the future. There were no questions concerning the “debt ceiling, nothing about ‘hard left’ economic populism … nothing about the United States selling out its prestige and position to Iran.”

It will be interesting to see if the interview does anything for Obama, concerning these serious issues that have overwhelmed his presidency, or if it will influence the way in which people view the president.

Erik Raymond is experienced in national and international politics. He relocated from the Middle East where he was working on his second novel. He produces content for DeseretNews.com. You can reach him at:



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