CBS White House correspondent Major Garrett is sitting in the national hot-seat after publicly challenging President Obama at a press conference covering Iran on Wednesday – and he has absolutely no regrets about it.
“Sometimes you have to take a scolding from a president to get an answer,” Garrett told CBS news anchor Contessa Brewer.
“Was it provocative? Yes. Was it intended to be as such? Absolutely,” he said.
A “scolding” is what CBS network is calling Obama’s testy response to Garrett after the seasoned journalist dared to ask Obama why four American hostages being held in Iran were left out of Iranian negotiations.
“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 relationship to these four Americans?” Garrett asked Obama at the presser.
Obama’s irritation over the question was palpable, calling Garrett’s “crafted” question “nonsense.”
“You should know better,” Obama said.
It seems Garrett knew exactly what he was doing and has become the focus of attention for getting under the president’s thin-skin.
“Politics, especially those elected as president, are very adept at creating straw men…that’s exactly what the president did,” Garrett explained.
Garrett brought up the fact that the Obama administration had repeatedly told the families of the hostages that it would never be “content” with the situation, and would work to free them.
“Everyone has heard the president say he’s not content, and they will work overtime to win their eventual release,” Garrett said. “That does not appear to me to be a sideline issue.”
With that in mind, Garrett asked the president what a lot of Americans would have asked him if they could.
“Clearly it struck a nerve,” Garrett said of Obama’s reaction. “That was my intention.”
Hopefully the dynamics over Garrett’s verbal tussle with the president won’t overshadow the reason why it transpired in the first place.
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