President Obama sat down with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly before the Super Bowl for a live interview Sunday that covered some of the more difficult moments of the President’s tenure.
For the roughly 10 minutes, Obama tried to focus on the message of opportunity he laid out in his State of the Union speech last week as O’Reilly asked about the disastrous rollout of Healthcare.gov, the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and evidence that some IRS agents targeted groups for audit based on political affiliation.
“I try to focus not on the fumbles but on the next play,” Obama said, when asked by O’Reilly about the biggest mistakes of his presidency.
Obama also defended Healthcare.gov and his Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius when O’Reilly asked why he did not fire her after the launch of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exhanges were almost derailed by a fautly website. The most important thing to focus on now, he said, is “making sure it delivers for the American people.”
O’Reilly also spent several minutes of the interview going over the events of September 11, 2011. When pressed on the question of whether he was told it was a terror attack as it was happening, Obama pointed to the multiple hearings that have been held on the topic and denied again that there was any coverup.
“We revealed to the American people exactly what we knew at the time,” he said, adding that “it wouldn’t be a very good coverup” since the adminstration shared new information when they learned it.
“Democrats and Republicans should be unified in trying to figure out how are we going to protect people,” Obama said.
Obama had limited patience for O’Reilly’s questions about possible “corruption” at the IRS. There was “not even a smidgen of corruption,” he said, before tweaking O’Reilly for creating controversies. “These kinds of things keep on surfacing in part because you and your TV station will promote them.”
The Super Bowl Sunday Presidential interview is a six year tradition; the last time Obama and O’Reilly met was in 2011, when Fox last broadcast the game. Last year, CBS’s Scott Pelley sat with Obama, and Matt Lauer did the honors in 2012 for NBC.
When asked whether he favored the Denver Broncos or the Seattle Seahawks to win the big game, Obama declined to pick a winner, but he did offer a score.
“24-21,” he said, “but I don’t know who’s going to be 24 and who’s going to be 21.”