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Bill O’Reilly’s pre-Super Bowl Obama interview more combative than big game

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Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly sat down with President Barack Obama on Super Bowl Sunday for a highly contentious interview, with Obama blaming Fox News more than once for “promoting” a false narrative.

The interview proved to be far more competitive than the game itself. The fun began with the disastrous roll-out of the Obamacare website, which Obama downplayed as a technological glitch, saying no one anticipated the degree of problems experienced.

O’Reilly asked the president why he didn’t fire Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

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“I am a taxpayer, and I’m paying Kathleen Sebelius’ salary,” O’Reilly said. “She screwed up, and you’re not holding her accountable.”

Obama countered that he holds “everybody up and down the line accountable,” but he said when you’re “midstream,” the focus in on making things work.

O’Reilly asked if it was the biggest mistake of Obama’s presidency to tell the nation over and over, “If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.”

An obviously irritated Obama responded that O’Reilly had “a long list of my mistakes,” before admitting that he did “regret” the false pledge. He then made a fitting analogy for the day, saying, “I try to focus not on the fumbles but on the next play.”

When the focus switched to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, things got even more tense.

O’Reilly quoted testimony from Gen. Carter Ham, who was the military commander in the region at the time, that then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was told just before a meeting with Obama that the ongoing assault was a terrorist attack.

O’Reilly asked Obama if Panetta characterized the attack that way.

The president avoided a direct answer, and the two began talking over each other, with O’Reilly asking again, “He didn’t use the word, ‘terrorist’?” Obama never gave a direct answer to the question.

“Your detractors believe that you did not tell the world it was a terror attack because your campaign didn’t want that out,” O’Reilly said. “That’s what they believe.”

“And they believe it because folks like you tell them that,” Obama said, calling the accusation “inaccurate.”

When asked about the IRS scandal, Obama categorically denied there was any corruption involved, although he did acknowledge “boneheaded decisions” were made at the agency.

“These kind of things keep on surfacing in part because you and your TV station keep promoting them,” Obama said.

The last question of the 10-minute interview came from an “O’Reilly Factor” viewer, who asked why Obama wanted to “fundamentally change” the nation that has afforded him so much opportunity.

“I don’t think we have to fundamentally transform the nation,” Obama responded, contradicting statements he’s made in the past.

When the clock ran down, the interview ended on a light note, with Obama predicting a close game – another bad assumption. The Super Bowl was blowout, with Seattle stomping Denver 43-8.


Tom Tillison


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