If you are going to call yourself a journalist and you get an interview with the President of the United States, why not ask the tough questions. That’s what Fox News anchor Bret Baier did Wednesday evening when he sat down for his first “exclusive” interview with President Barrack Obama to discuss the current health care reform bill. Baier came prepared to ask the tough questions, for which the President was not prepared to answer.
First up was the Slaughter rule,
BAIER: “…So do you support the use of this Slaughter rule? The deem and pass rule, so that Democrats avoid a straight up or down vote on the Senate bill?”
OBAMA: “…We know that this is going to reduce the deficit by over a trillion dollars. So you've got a good package, in terms of substance. I don't spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or the Senate.”
As Baier attempted to steer the President back to the question at hand, Obama continued to reiterate his now familiar theme,
OBAMA: “…This is always an issue that's — whether Republicans are in charge or Democrats in charge — when Republicans are in charge, Democrats constantly complain that the majority was not giving them an opportunity, et cetera. What the American people care about is the fact that their premiums are going up 25, 40, 60 percent, and I'm going to do something about it.”
It was clear the interview was going to be contentious. Baier was looking for real answers to real questions and would not allow the President to just run out the clock. The President appeared unprepared for Baier’s style of questioning, and was on the defensive for most of the interview.
Some of the toughest questions of the night came from questions submitted by Fox News viewers. Lee Johnson of Spring Valley, California e-mailed in to ask,
“If the bill is so good for all of us, why all the intimidation, arm twisting, seedy deals, and parliamentary trickery necessary to pass a bill, when you have an overwhelming majority in both houses and the presidency?”
Sandy Moody of Chesterfield, Missouri e-mailed,
“If the health care bill is so wonderful, why do you have to bribe Congress to pass it?”
How did the President answer these questions? Try as I might, I could not find a straight answer in either the YouTube video or interview transcripts. President Obama ended the interview by saying,
“…I'm confident it will pass. And the reason I'm confident that it's going to pass is because it's the right thing to do…”
On the surface, the interview was civil and mostly respectful. Underneath, however, were the simmering tensions and defiant attitude of a President on the edge.
The latest Rasmussen national telephone survey finds a majority 53% of Americans opposing the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. If the House fails to pass his signature legislation Sunday, will President Obama then pivot to jobs and the economy, issues that are of most concern to Americans at this time, or will he be consumed with something more sinister—revenge? One thing for certain, pass or fail, this issue is not going away anytime soon.