Bill O’Reilly’s interview with President Obama yesterday is fascinating on a number of levels.
First, the fact that the interview happened is noteworthy. This White House is not known for its openness to the press, much less to Fox News. That an adversarial interviewer like O’Reilly was allowed a one-on-one in the East Room is pretty amazing.
Second, even though the interview was short, O’Reilly did press the president on a number of issues that other reporters would not have pressed (e.g., Benghazi and the IRS scandal). Until yesterday, he has rarely had to face questions like the ones O’Reilly gave him.
Third, President Obama is still playing games with words. President Obama claims to have called Benghazi a terrorist attack a day after it happened. It’s the word game that arguably won him his second debate against Mitt Romney and ultimately a second term. But his claim to have called it a terrorist attack is really misleading.
Yes, President Obama used the phrase “acts of terror”. But it is not clear in context that he meant to label Benghazi an act of terror. In context, he implied that the Benghazi attacks were a result of a spontaneous uprising in response to a YouTube video. President Obama did not acknowledge it as an organized terrorist attack that included Al Qaeda related groups until about two weeks later. Bottom line, he and his administration were calling the attack a spontaneous uprising well after United States intelligence services knew otherwise. He has yet to account for that disparity.
Anyway, you can watch the interview for yourself above, or you can read the transcript here.