In what can only be described as rank corruption itself, President Obama said Sunday there’s not a “smidgeon” of corruption involved in the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups before the 2012 election. Obama asserted this even as an investigation – led by an Obama donor - is continuing into the targeting.
The president spoke during a live interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News broadcast just before the Super Bowl
I can’t think of a better example of Chicagoland politics than to signal to your investigators how the probe is supposed to turn out. Now, Justice Department officials have their marching orders. And anyone who uncovers a “smidgeon” of corruption will have to worry about making the boss look like a liar or a fool, not to mention worrying about their employment status.
The interview, which I run for you below, is well worth watching. I give Obama some credit for submitting to an interview with O’Reilly, who – unlike any other reporter who questions Obama – asks only tough, direct questions that attempt to hold Obama accountable, and who tries to cut off Obama’s attempts to run out the clock with verbose answers containing no information.
The O’Reilly interview had several other quite newsworthy moments:
- Obama ducked the question about whether Secretary of Defense Panetta told him the night of the Benghazi assault that it was a terrorist attack. Panetta had reportedly been informed by the general then heading the U.S. African command that this was a terrorist attack, not a demonstration.
- Obama showed he has no good reason for not firing HHS Secretary Sebelius.
- Obama repeatedly attacked Fox News. A president should not be assailing specific news outlets. It chills free speech and signals to his aides and the vast federal bureaucracy that the outlet if fair game.
- Obama says the Healthcare.gov website is “fixed.” That’s not even remotely true. The site remains insecure; the system for sending payments to insurance companies is still under construction; it’s still not clear who has paid for their plans; and as the Washington Post reported today, if you make a mistake signing up, you’re screwed.
I sometimes think O’Reilly is a blowhard. But sometimes it takes someone like this to break through the stonewall.
Before I covered the White House, ABC’s Sam Donaldson used to annoy me too. I thought he was pompous and unnecessarily disrespectful to Ronald Reagan.
When I started working with Donaldson during Clinton’s last years, I watched how relentless he was and realized that he hadn’t just been a liberal reporter out to get Reagan. Rather, Donaldson was kind of a maniac out to get answers. And more often than others, he got them.