When President Obama agreed to be interviewed by Fox News, he surely didn’t expect to be soft-balled. But he probably didn’t foresee the interviewer interrupting him more than a dozen times, and having to repeatedly point that out.
Host Bret Baier insisted on discussing the parliamentary procedures Democrats are mulling in order to squeeze the health care bill through, and a visibly frustrated Obama kept urging him to focus the substantive issues.
“The reason that I think this conversation ends up being a little frustrating is because the focus, entirely, is on Washington process,” he said. “And yes, I have said that is an ugly process. It was ugly when Republicans were in charge, it is ugly when Democrats are in charge.”
Interrupted at 16 different points during the exchange, Obama demanded he be allowed to fully respond to the questions. “Bret, let me finish,” he repeated a number of times.
When Baier accused the president of dodging his questions, the president responded, “Well, I’m trying to answer your questions and you keep on interrupting.”
The Fox News host repeatedly asked Obama about the any “special deals” his party may be making with lawmakers to win their votes, to which Obama responded the bill will be posted online soon for everyone to view.
At the end of the interview, he apologized to the president for interrupting him so often, claiming he was trying to get the “most for our buck.”
On MSNBC’s Countdown With Keith Olbermann, guest host Lawrence O’Donnell asked The Nation‘s Chris Hayes if the amount of interruptions in the interview was unseemly.
Hayes didn’t mind, noting that “power should be pestered a little bit.” But he accused Fox of “propagandizing on behalf of this certain, very narrow viewpoint” in trying to build distrust toward the legislation and the Democrats’ parliamentary maneuvers.
“The more the conversation is about process, the less people like the bill, and the more that it’s on the actual substantive things that are in the bill, the more they like the bill,” he added.
End the MSNBC segment was a mash-up of all the times Obama was interrupted.
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast March 17, 2010.
Watch the entire interview with Brett Baier:
This video is from Fox News’ Special Report, broadcast March 17, 2010.