Angry Obama lashes out at CBS’s Major Garrett for ‘loaded’ question; Garrett pays price

Ask a provocative question of President Obama and you’ll quickly find out who your friends are.

With Obama all but making a victory lap in the wake of this week’s announced nuclear deal with Iran, CBS News’ Major Garrett rained on the president’s parade when he asked why four Americans being held by the Persian Gulf country were not part of the deal.

“As you well know, there are four Americans in Iran, three held on trumped-up charges according to your administration and one, whereabouts unknown,” the CBS White House correspondent said at an extended news conference on Wednesday.

“Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content with all the fanfare around this deal to leave the conscience of this nation, the strength of this nation unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?”

The president was not pleased, scolding Garrett for how he crafted the question.

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“Major, that’s nonsense, and you should know better,” Obama added, after a long, dramatic pause.

And apparently a few of Garret’s media colleagues felt the same way.

“There’s a fine line between asking a tough question and maybe crossing that line a little bit and being disrespectful, and I think that happened here,” said CNN’s Dana Bash, adding that it was an “embarrassment to journalism.”

And she was not the only one at CNN who felt that way. Don Lemon and Gloria Borger agreed that Garrett went too far with his question — Lemon said it “was a little out of school.”

Garret did find one ally at the network in White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

“Well, [Obama] can get testy at times, and clearly this question got under his skin,” Acosta said of the exchange. “And I don’t think slamming reporters will solve any problems for the president.”

Former Marine Montel Williams, a fierce defender of fellow veterans, posted this remark on Twitter:

Leave it to Fox News to offer a little balance.

Media analyst Howard Kurtz appeared on “The Kelly File” and, while admitting that the question may have been somewhat “loaded,” said Obama should “be able to deal with provocative questions.”

He added that the president may have “undermined his own cause” by “lashing out” at Garrett.

In the end, Garret had his own take on Obama’s rebuke, which can be seen here.

Watch the original exchange between Obama and Garrett.


Tom Tillison


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