February 3, 2014

In case you want to hear an interviewer who feels free to continually interrupt the President of the United States to turn up the heat.

Here's Bill O'Reilly interviewing Barack Obama. Full video and transcript at the link. I'll just excerpt the part about the IRS scandal, and I invite you to consider — in addition to the substance — whether this kind of interruption is unacceptably disrespectful or justifiable to prevent the interviewee from running out the clock with propaganda:

O'REILLY:  I've got to get to the IRS...

OBAMA:  Yes.

O'REILLY:  -- because I don't know what happened there and I'm hoping maybe you can tell us.  Douglas Shulman, former IRS chief, he was cleared into the White House 157 times, more than any of your cabinet members, more than any other IRS guy in the history, by far. OK, why was Douglas Shulman here 157 times? Why?

OBAMA:  Mr. Shulman, as the head of the IRS, is constantly coming in, because at the time, we were trying to set up the, uh, HealthCare.gov and the IRS...

O'REILLY:  What did he have to do with that?

OBAMA:  -- and the IRS is involved in making sure that that works as part of the overall health care team.

O'REILLY:  So it was all health care?

OBAMA:  Number two, we've also got the IRS involved when it comes to some of the financial reforms to make sure that we don't have taxpayer funded bailouts in the future.  So you had all these different agendas in which the head of the IRS is naturally involved.

O'REILLY:  Did you speak to him a lot...

OBAMA:  -- (INAUDIBLE).

O'REILLY:  -- yourself?

OBAMA:  I do not recall meeting with him in any of these meetings that are pretty routine meetings that we had.

O'REILLY:  OK, so you don't -- you don't recall seeing Shulman, because what some people are saying is that the IRS was used...

OBAMA:  Yes.

O'REILLY:  -- at a -- at a local level in Cincinnati, and maybe other places to go after...

OBAMA:  Absolutely wrong.

O'REILLY:  -- to go after.

OBAMA:  Absolutely wrong.

O'REILLY:  But how do you know that, because we -- we still don't know what happened there?

OBAMA:  Bill, we do -- that's not what happened.  They -- folks have, again, had multiple hearings on this.  I mean these kinds of things keep on surfacing, in part because you and your TV station will promote them.

O'REILLY:  But don't...

OBAMA:  But when (INAUDIBLE)...

O'REILLY:  -- think there are unanswered questions?

OBAMA:  Bill, when you actually look at this stuff, there have been multiple hearings on it.  What happened here was it that you've got a...

O'REILLY:  But there's no definition on it.

OBAMA:  -- you've got a 501(c)(4) law that people think is focusing.  No -- that the folks did not know how to implement...

O'REILLY:  OK...

OBAMA:  -- because it basically says...

O'REILLY:  -- so you're saying there was no...

OBAMA:  -- if you are involved...

O'REILLY:  -- no corruption there at all, none?

OBAMA:  That's not what I'm saying.

O'REILLY:  (INAUDIBLE).

OBAMA:  That's actually...

O'REILLY:  No, no, but I want to know what...

OBAMA:  -- (INAUDIBLE)...

O'REILLY:  -- you're saying.  You're the leader of the country.

OBAMA:  Absolutely.

O'REILLY:  You're saying no corruption?

OBAMA:  No.

O'REILLY:  None? No?

OBAMA:  There were some -- there were some bone-headed decisions...

O'REILLY:  Bone-headed decisions...

OBAMA:  -- out of -- out of a local office...

O'REILLY:  But no mass corruption?

OBAMA:  Not even mass corruption, not even a smidgeon of corruption, I would say.

57 comments:

RecChief said...

looks to me like Obama was trying "Plausible deniability". One of the tells is that he doesn't "recall" meeting Shulman. Strains credulity.

The IRS needs to be reined in, after all, the President joked about having the IRS audit his "enemies".

rhhardin said...

Disrespect phooey.

If you're on point anything is acceptable.

He's our employee.

Mark England said...

An interview. Not a speech. Works for me.

carrie said...

If a president does not restrict the press's access to him/her, then it would border on being disrespectful. Where a president does restrict the president does restrict the press's access to him/her, it is justified and necessary. I am glad that the super bowl was on Fox this year! I am sick of hearing about the NJ bridge scandal and was glad that scandals of national importance were finally receiving some national attention.

madAsHell said...

in part because you and your TV station will promote them.

You are paranoid, and you need to trust me.

Sayyid said...

"OBAMA: I do not recall meeting with him in any of these meetings that are pretty routine meetings that we had."

That is a pretty remarkable sentence. Just try to pry apart what it means without making half of it into an outright lie exposed by the other half of it.

Hagar said...

This is O'Reilly's third interview with this president, and he clearly signaled what he was intending to do and how.

What is amazing to me is that Captain Styrofoam and his White House crew agreed to expose him to live fire yet again.

Hagar said...

And that he still was no better prepared to deal with it.

EDH said...

Reading that segment of the transcript, it looks like Obama interrupted O'Reilly's questions at least as often as O'Reilly interrupted Obama's answers.

bbkingfish said...

That is how O'Reilly performs his schtick. Actually, he showed uncommon restraint. He did not shout the President down, as O'Reilly normally does to citizens with whom he disagrees.

mikeski said...

Interrupting the President is RAYCESS.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

What the president deserves is the dishonor of a nation and the scorn of history. Getting interrupted comes woefully short.

Lyssa said...

I mean these kinds of things keep on surfacing, in part because you and your TV station will promote them.

Wait, what? I certainly hope that President Obama did not mean to sound as if he were saying that these things should be kept under wraps, that it is only a problem because Fox keeps pointing it out.

At least, I would like to hope that. But that's sure what it sounds like.

Hagar said...

I have not read "The Tyrant of the Breakfast Table," and it probably is about something entirely else, but the title so fits O'Reilly.

But O'Reilly is getting to be kind of a moth-eaten lion, and you would think the World's Greatest Orator should have been able to handle him.

Freeman Hunt said...

That didn't read as disrespectful to me.

garage mahal said...

Awesome interview. The questions were about important, real things.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

Of course the argument will be made that it is the presidency itself that must be respected and not the occupant, per se. In theory this is true. But in practice this is just another change that Obama has brought about. By disrespecting his own office so brazenly, but by being able to dodge responsibility for the most, he is stirring up disrespect for his office. This is his choosing and deserves further contempt.

AntiBathos said...

Too respectful. "If there is nothing there, why did your IRS appointee plead the Fifth; Why did Shulman (who is not the IRS point man on Obamacre) really make those 157 visits and with whom did he visit if not you; why did your White House spokesman deliver a flat out lie about rogue agents in the local Cincinnati office and why does your administration continue to deny documents and witness testimony to Congress? Frankly, Mr. President that's not good enough. You owe us the truth. not a repeat of the whitewash delivered by a hand-picked partisan."

traditionalguy said...

Absolute Ruler Obama just ran out the clock by doubling down on an alternate reality. The message now is that he's never heard a bad word about his IRStapo goons, the investigations are complete and it's time for everybody to shut up.

"L'etat c'est moi" comes next

Illuninati said...

Great job.

Bill O'Reilly is probably the only reporter who could pull this interview off. When Obama agreed to the interview he knew how Bill O'Reilly operates. At the end O'Reilly complemented Obama and Obama said he enjoyed the interview so all is well.

jacksonjay said...


Yeah, and who was the guy with the "I don't remember!" eighty something times! Some lawyer at the IRS in the "hearing" that found nothing!

jacksonjay said...


But if Republicans just focus on the IRS scandal, they've got Obama dead to rights! Don't defend Christie! Shut-up about abortion! Just focus on the IRS!

So says noted Obama voter!

Jason said...

Well, it's not like we have anything like the UK Prime Minister's "Question Time" in Parliament.

The President's a big boy. He can handle a bit of pushback. If he can't, that's worth seeing on TV, too.

Fen said...

"That is how O'Reilly performs his schtick. Actually, he showed uncommon restraint."

Yup. Thats why I find O'Reilly unwatchable. He has remarkable guests, but whenever I lean in to listen to something interesting they are saying, Bill has to interupt.

Because the show is all about Bill O'Reilly. Wasn't like that his first few years, but he's become a narcisitic blowhard.

jacksonjay said...

IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkins!

“In your testimony, you stated ‘I don’t recall’ a staggering 80 times in full or partial response to the Committee’s questions,” committee chairman Darrell Issa and Ohio representative Jim Jordan wrote. “Your failure to recollect important aspects of the Committee’s investigation suggests either a deliberate attempt to obfuscate your involvement in this matter or gross incompetence on your part.”

I'm sure the NYT is working on a story about William Willkins and Lois Lerner. Maybe Maureen will write a column or Ezra will put this all in "context"! David Gregory on MTP?

Hold your fire!

Oh wait, the topic is O'Reilly, not the IRS! I get an F!

MathMom said...

I think Obama should be rudely interrupted all the time. I watched the rudeness and contempt with which Sam Donaldson treated President Reagan, so I know this is acceptable behavior.

Oh? Obama is a Democrat so it's not ok?

My bad.

Fen said...

"I think Obama should be rudely interrupted all the time"

Yup. He gets pissy when the proles question him. Doens't look good on camera. Geez, if only we had a political party that would use that to their advantage?

Seeing Red said...

I don't think we need to fundamentally transform America?

Did his lips fall off?

Will said...

Barack Obama works for me. He works for all of us. Some people seem to think it's the other way around. Public Servants should be expected to fully answer all questions and be prepared to describe screw-ups to the people they work for.

Dodging questions is 110% unacceptable. And THAT is why these scandals are not going away and will not go away.

Media has our full permission to keep tightening the vice until Obama answers the questions

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Reason #1 we do not waste time with MSM political interviews:
..interviewer response does not cover the question asked;
..interviewer does not immediately and pointedly reject the response and repeat the question.

Reason #1 why we do not waste time with any morning show, political 'panel' show, etc.:
..won't be more than 10 minutes before folks start talking over each-other in-unintelligible jabber.
(..exception is Krauthammer, where the others, perhaps in deference to his inability to wave arms, usually allow him to speak without interruption.)

bbkingfish said...

"If there is nothing there, why did your IRS appointee plead the Fifth."

Lois Lerner, the IRS official who took the Fifth, was not an Obama appointee; she was an IRS lifer.

"Why did Shulman (who is not the IRS point man on Obamacre) really make those 157 visits and with whom did he visit if not you"

This has been answered many times. Shulman did not visit the White House 157 times. He was cleared to attend meetings on Obamacare (which occurred daily) 157 times. Some of the meetings, he attended; others he didn't.

"why does your administration continue to deny documents and witness testimony to Congress..."

Again, nope. The White House (Obama's administration) denied no document requests in the Congressional investigation. In fact, the documents they sent demonstrated that the IRS investigated Democratic groups, too.

"why did your White House spokesman deliver a flat out lie about rogue agents in the local Cincinnati office..."

The only person to make this charge, as far as I can tell, was Darrell "The Torch" Issa. 'Nuff said.

Did O'Reilly really ask this question, or is it the product of the commenter? If this gibberish actually came from O'Reilly, it more or less proves the President's point.










rcocean said...

So liberals and Democrats are now playing the "We must respect our President" card?

Really. They have no shame.

rcocean said...

So liberals and Democrats are now playing the "We must respect our President" card?

Really. They have no shame.

lgv said...

This is the annoying approach of Bill O'Reilly. It is his way.

What is more annoying is the President lying to us. He was still peddling the rogue employee angle.

jacksonjay said...

kingfisher sez:

Lois Lerner, the IRS official who took the Fifth, was not an Obama appointee; she was an IRS lifer.

1. Not an argument!
2. Not true! Lerner worked her partisan magic at the FEC for more than a decade! Her appearance before the Issa committee is not her first brush with controversy involving Congressional hearings!

PeterK said...

not a fan of O'Reilly but his tactics kept Obama from running out the clock

David said...

If the office of the presidency has become so elevated and dignified that the sitting president, whoever that is, can not be questioned aggressively, then we need to reduce the elevation and dignity of the office.

So I ask you, who are better suited to do that than Bill O'Reilly and Barack Obama?

AReasonableMan said...

garage mahal said...
Awesome interview. The questions were about important, real things.


Yes. A trainwreck with reality. It's good those guys make so much money out of peddling conspiracies or the whole exercise would seem completely worthless.

AntiBathos said...

bbkingfish:

1) Should have said "known partisan hack bureaucrat" and not political appointee".
2) The White House meetings about Citizens United involving IRS figures is why White House personnel have lawyered up and Congress gets stiff armed. The issue of IRS visits have not been "answered many times" except with BS.
3) The notion that the White House and the IRs have cooperated in re documents is assinine. They are still resisting subpoenaed info while denying they are doing so.
4) Jay Carney expressly advanced the 'rogue Cincinnati employees LIE and then refused to acknowledge that the WH story changed.

As a lefty, you are probably not good at accountability for Light Workers or questioning the party line in any way. But try to imagine i Bush had done and said the same things and then see where that takes you. Defending the way Obama has handled this scandal is itself a scandal.

paminwi said...

"Reading that segment of the transcript, it looks like Obama interrupted O'Reilly's questions at least as often as O'Reilly interrupted Obama's answers."

Why did Obama interrupt O'Reilly's questions? Because he DIDN'T want O"Reilly to get the complete question out of his mouth in one sentence. It would then be so obvious that Obama didn't answer the question asked.

When you break the flow of question and answer you muddle what is going on which is exactly wjat Obama wanted. Except for "it's all FOX News' fault for everything".

Anonymous said...

"justifiable to prevent the interviewee from running out the clock with propaganda"

For goodness sake, we are a democratic Republic, for the people, and all that. To hold him to the truth is not disrespect, for him to lie and obfuscate is disrespectful of the people's intelligence. A liar does not deserve more respect than a regular citizen.

For instance, it was so damned ridiculous for the Press to vilify Alito after he mouthed "that is not true" when the president lied to our face in his State of the Union address a few years back. Like a god damned dictator, he can lie, his press can propagandize, we are to be muzzled to make a liar look good.

Roger Sweeny said...

This reminds me of when Dan Rather would ask a "disrespectful" question of Richard Nixon and Nixon would give him a "disrespectful" answer. Rather gained ratings and Nixon gained popularity with his base. Win-win, for a while.

bbkingfish said...

"...not an argument..."

Sorry, but since your question contains four separate assertions which range from misleading, to incomplete, to wholly manufactured, you have made no argument to which I can respond. You guys put to much faith in Darrell "The Torch" Issa and his various fishing expeditions. How fitting.

Alex said...

It's Obama who has debased the office, not O'Reilly.

RecChief said...

Dissembler in Chief

readering said...

This was billed as one of two interviews, with the second interview being broadcast on the Factor tonight. It will be interesting to see if O'Reilly calmed down for the second interview or whether it is more of the same. Superbowl Sunday does not seem like the right setting for this kind of interview.

jacksonjay said...

Of course, Kingfisher was not responding to "not an argument", but try this one! Barbara Bosserman is not an Obama appointee, just an Obama donor! Should she have been appointed by DOJ to investigate the IRS affair?

Two days after it was announced that she was investigating, it was announced that no charges would be filed! Pretty quick investigation, huh? Principles involved say they have been contacted by Bosserman or DOJ involving the investigation!

Oh, by the way, O'Reilly sucks!

jacksonjay said...


should have read, "Principles involved say they have NOT been contacted ...."

Skeptical Voter said...

OBozo and OBlowhard. They deserve each other.

geokstr said...

bbkingfish:
"If there is nothing there, why did your IRS appointee plead the Fifth."

Lois Lerner, the IRS official who took the Fifth, was not an Obama appointee; she was an IRS lifer.

Nonresponsive. Why did the person, appointed or lifer, high up in the bureaucracy, who was in charge of tax-exempt approvals for the entire time this happened, choose to take the fifth in the first place?

When she disclosed this abuse in a response to a planted question, she apologized for targeting groups with “tea party” or “patriot”. Gosh, I'm not certain, but I don't think there are a lot of lefty groups that would get caught up in that BOLO, do you?

So the person in charge admits to going after conservative groups, and the leftlings, like you, spend the next 6 months saying she was lying?

It took six weeks to find a leftist group that says it too was targeted, but there is still not one of them that has stated they were asked for their member lists, the content of their prayers, any past or future speakers, copies of all their online postings, their children's facebook posts, and lots more.

The Tea Party groups were not given 501 status for an average of 28 months, and absolutely none of them, zero, was approved prior to the 2012 elections. What a freakin' coincidence. Some have still not received notice of their status, and dozens gave up in the process.

This was the entire purpose of this BS, to delay them past the election and intimidate their donors. Now they've taken the list of what these groups said they were going to do and are going to ban exactly those activities with new regulations.

Another freakin' coincidence.

Disgusting.

"why did your White House spokesman deliver a flat out lie about rogue agents in the local Cincinnati office..."

The only person to make this charge, as far as I can tell, was Darrell "The Torch" Issa. 'Nuff said.


It took me around three seconds to google this, so "as far as (you) can tell" is disingenuous, to be charitable (otherwise I'd have to call you an outright liar):

"Ousted Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steven Miller said the agency pinpointed two "rogue" employees in the Cincinnati IRS office as being responsible..."
WCPO Cincinnatti

Where did you get your talking points, MediaMatters or DKos?

The Godfather said...

I know from experience that it is very difficult to cross-examine a smart, well-prepared witness, particularly an expert witness. You have to have and use material from discovery or elsewhere to keep the witness honest. Otherwise, the witness will just say what he/she wants to say, and you as the questioner are left with nothing but bluster.

That's what happened to O'Reilly. When Obama said, "all these committees" that have looked into the IRS targeting of conservative groups have found no intentional harassment, O'Reilly had nothing, NOTHING, to challenge him with. Same for the Benghazi attack.

I suppose O'Reilly has gotten the reputation of being willing to ask "tough" questions (kind of like the questions Barbara Walters asked of celebrities), but with no follow up all you do is make the interviewee look good.

How bad was O'Reilly? He made Romney look good.

AntiBathos said...

"...not an argument..."

...You guys put to much faith in Darrell "The Torch" Issa and his various fishing expeditions. How fitting."


I would rather believe Issa than believe that I can keep my doctor and my insurance unless some rogue IRS employees produce an anti-Islamic video causing guns to get in the hands of Mexican gangs and amnesia in the attorney general.

Obama lies. His appointees and staff have no honor and his defenders are increasingly pathetic.

William said...

Obama looked relaxed, charming, and personable. That's all his fans will notice. Obama is better looking than O'Reilly and has a far nicer smile. On these key issues Obama clearly surpasses O'Reilly. The trick to evaluating these interviews is to watch them with the sound off.

Steven Wilson said...

It is for occasions such as this that the expression, "With all due respect," should be used, repeatedly, to shortstop an evasive answer. It's polite, but with the appropriate emphasis you can clearly communicate to the audience and the interviewee just how much respect you think the person is entitled to.

chillblaine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

Ann,

I wish O'Riley would have stood up and told Obama to 'GET OUT OF MY STUDIO'.

Same for Jon Stewart and his interview with Pelosi.

How can you talk about respect for the President when he puts forth such obvious BULLSHIT. Same for the minority leader Pelosi.

One cannot have respect if they don't show respect and give strait HONEST answers.

readering said...

The second interview is almost a meta-interview with O'Reilly pleading with the president not to dismiss him and Fox News as biased (or at least that's the way I remember it a day later).

Things sure have evolved since the days of the Kennedy press conferences.

Can you imagine an interviewer interrupting Reagan like that? Not that Reagan would not have been able to call up his memory of movie scenes to spit out some snappy dialogue in response.