Feature

Grading Obama's Fox News interview

The president went into unfriendly media territory to sell health-care reform. How did Obama do against Fox's "tenacious" Bret Baier  

Obama's FOX news interview: How'd he do?

In a final push for the health-care bill, President Obama sat down last night for a "combative" interview with Fox News' Bret Baier — his first visit to Fox since last fall's White House feud with the network. An administration official said Obama was returning to "the scene of the crime," referring to charges that Fox had been spreading "falsehoods and myths" about the health care reform. How did Obama, and Baier, do? (Watch part 1 of the interview below)

Baier dominated Obama: The Fox host conducted "the best interview of President Obama in a year," period, says Seth Leibsohn at National Review. Baier skillfully parried Obama's "obvious attempts to run down the clock," and politely "hammered" the president with questions he clearly didn't want to answer. Note to other media outlets: Fox just schooled you on "how not to be cowed by a strong and charismatic leader." "Bret Baier"

Parroting propaganda isn't interviewing: I wasn't impressed by Baier, says Ron Chusid in Liberal Values. How hard is it to hit someone with "a long line of dishonest right-wing talking points"? Obama went on Fox to have a substantive discussion on health care, and all he got was a big serving of Fox's "right-wing propaganda without any regard for the facts." "Transcript of Barack Obama’s interview on Fox"

There was substance, just not the kind Obama likes: Obama's the one who "stuck to his talking points," says Matthew Continetti in The Weekly Standard. All he wanted to discuss were the "ice cream" positives of a bill that won't drop sick people or deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Baier was good because he "tripped Obama up" over the bill's "spinach," including the "special deals" to states like Nebraska. "Bret Baier interviews Barack Obama"

Baier failed by dwelling on the process of passing the bill: While I commend Baier for saving us from another "infomercial" for ObamaCare, says Kate Pickert in Time, it was "jarring" to watch him repeatedly cut off the president, and it was "silly" of him to spend the "vast majority" of his interview grilling Obama, not on the bill itself, but on how Democrats want to pass it. Obama said he doesn't get "hung up on procedure" — too bad Baier did. "Fox News cares about process, even if most voters don't"

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