President Obama stuck to his defensive game plan this evening in his traditional pre-Super Bowl interview with FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly, repeatedly hitting back that the issues O’Reilly was raising were only issues because his network keeps pushing them.
O’Reilly questioned Obama on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the IRS scandal, two issues the president said have been drummed up by Fox News.
“These kinds of things keep on surfacing in part because you and your TV station will promote them,” the president said in the live 10-minute interview.
O’Reilly noted that the president’s “detractors” claim the president avoided calling Benghazi a “terror” attack because his campaign was concerned about the political damage it might cause.
“They believe it because folks like you are telling them that,” the president said.
Asked if the Affordable Care Act signup website rollout was the “biggest mistake” of his presidency, the president insisted it wasn’t.
“Bill, you’ve got a long list of my mistakes,” Obama said.
O’Reilly pressed the president on why won’t fire Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from her post after the troubled healthcare rollout.
“I promise you that we hold everybody up and down the line accountable,” the president said. “I try to focus not on the fumbles, but on the next play.”
O’Reilly also grilled the president on the IRS scandal, in which the agency targeted tea party groups, but the president argued that there was no corruption involved.
“There were some boneheaded decisions,” the president said. “Not even a smidgen of corruption.”
At the end of the interview, O’Reilly said to the president, “I know you think maybe we haven’t been fair, but I think your heart is in the right place.”