What happens when President Obama gets a tough question? We haven't known the answer to that question because for the past two years, and for the years he campaigned for president before that, President Obama hasn't received one.
Well, Texas WFAA Channel 8 reporter Brad Watson asked him more than one tough question, corrected the President, and generally did what a reporter should do. President Obama was not amused:
Troubling questions included:
"Why do you think you're so unpopular in Texas?"
The President answered,"Texas has always been a Republican state." (Aside: Uh, no it hasn't it's been overwhelmingly Democrat until 1950 and continued dominance for decades until it finally and fully flipped completely in the 2010 election.)
The President also implied that his election was close in Texas saying that he "lost by a few percentage points."
Watson corrected the President and said, "You lost by about ten."
Then Watson asked,"Was the Shuttle not awarded to Houston because of politics?" (Aside: Republicans and Democrats here in the Houston area are furious about not having a Shuttle in the city--it's being sent to New York City to be left outside, of all things.)
President Obama answered,"I just said that was wrong."
So Watson followed up,"So you weren't involved in any part of the decision."
And President Obama said,"I just said that wasn't true." (Aside: Note that he didn't say, straight out, "No.")
Another question, "Are you going to campaign in Texas or is the state written off?"
The President visibly winced when he said the words,"I never write off any state and, I love, I love Texas."
As the interview finished and when the President thought the microphone was turned off, the President said to Watson,"Let me finish my answers, the next time we do an interview all right?"
For his part, Brad Watson seemed rather unflappable though I doubt he'll be given an interview by the President again.
Thus, the accusations of an incestuous national media persist. They want access to the President so they ask him softball questions, knowing that a tough interview will put the reporter in exile.
Americans used to an overtly hostile press with President Bush haven't seen these sorts of interviews with President Obama. One reporter, asking challenging questions in a neutral but not warm and fuzzy way, seems aggressive.
The fact is, Watson wasn't even that tough. The questions were rather mundane, really, and expected. But President Obama looked churlish and defensive. Why? Because he's never challenged. He's allowed to filibuster. He understands and manipulates the reporters and they play along with the game because each one hopes he'll be the next "exclusive".
President Obama would have approval ratings in the low 40s or high 30s if the national press challenged him on things like gas prices, joblessness, and dare I say it, the malaise that casts a pall over a rebounding economy.
But the press and President Obama are in this ideologically together. Together they rise and fall. So the press continues to aid and abet President Obama.
Brad Watson, lone reporter from Texas, reveals the collusion in a simple, short interview.