The President and Me, Together Again

As you probably know, your humble correspondent (that's me) will conduct a live interview with President Obama before Sunday's Super Bowl. The chat is fraught with danger. Not for the President, but for me.

That's largely because the rules are different when it comes to interviewing the President of the United States. For example, he is addressed as "Mr. President," and there is a respect for the office that formalizes the conversation. In other words, this back-and-forth will have little in common with Erin Andrews questioning Richard Sherman after the Seahawks won the NFC title.

Three years ago I also interviewed President Obama prior to the Super Bowl and some critics compared it to an athletic contest, a war of wills. Media analyst Howard Kurtz, then of CNN and now my colleague at Fox News, gave this post-interview analysis: "While the Fox pundit scored a few points, the president emerged the victor." Truth is, I wasn't trying to "score points," I was trying to elicit information that people didn't already know.

Others took me to task for asking this question: "Does it disturb you that so many people hate you?" It was a legitimate question to ask a president who was, and remains, widely disliked. He handled it well, saying this: "The folks who hate you, they don't know you. What they hate is whatever funhouse mirror image of you that's out there … you don't take it personally."

On Sunday, I can ask the president the best questions in the world, but he doesn't have to answer them. He can say what he wants. Barack Obama is a loquacious man and he can easily run out the clock. If I interrupt too much, I look like a Visigoth. If I simply let him pontificate, I look like a sycophant. And because the interview is live, there's no editing, nowhere to hide if things don't go well.

Experienced journalists know that any interview with a powerful person is more like a chess match than a football game. Your job is to get information and to deliver something that the audience has not heard. The interviewee may not want to answer certain questions and might even refuse to answer by spinning. With anyone else, I can interrupt in mid-spin. But with the President of the United States, you have to be careful.

So I fully expect to get hammered after the interview is over, maybe even by my pals Howard Kurtz and Bernie Goldberg. Depending on how you feel about the president, the questions will either be too soft or too intrusive. The first time around, the interview benefited both Mr. Obama and myself. He looked gracious for coming on a network that he has frequently vilified; I benefitted by reaching viewers who aren't Factor regulars. To borrow a phrase from President Obama, some people got to see something other than the "funhouse mirror" version of O'Reilly they had heard about.

This is the ultimate challenge for an interviewer, as well as the ultimate opportunity and privilege. I can't wait to see how it goes, can't wait to read about the reaction. We'll have all the highlights and post-interview analysis on The Factor on Monday. Wish me luck.

  • LWUSA

    Bernie Goldberg said it best tonight on O’Reiley. Interview was a dog & poney chase, Bill did not issue follow-up questions. He acted intimated, only thrilled Obama granted him interview time. Obama is the master escape artist once again. O’Reilly demonstrated he is riding the Obama wave.

  • potemkin_village_usa

    BILL O’REILLY, YOU NEED TO ASK THE PRESIDENT:

    HOW CAN OBAMA-CARE BE A TAX SEPERATE FROM ITS BENEFIT MAKING IT CONSTITUTIONAL?

    Bill O’Reilly, you need to read the following and realize that this tax argument in Obama-Care being deemed constitutional comes from the precedent within the fallacious reasoning in, Helvering v. Davis 301 U.S. 619 (1937), and, Stewart Machine Co. v. Davis 301 U.S. 548 (1937), where the tax in relation to social security were deemed mutually exclusive; Justice Cordozo completely misinterpreted the plain English within the constitution and ruled in favor of the FDR administration arguing that the tax has nothing to do with the benefit of Social Security and therefore does not violate the “general welfare clause” over-ruling Davis v. Boston & Maine R. Co. (89 F.2d 368), and, Davis v. Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of Boston et.al. (89 F.2d 393). This gross abuse of judicial discretion up-held the Social Security Act’s constitutionality.

    The lower court ruled that the act violated the “general welfare” clause of the US Constitution. They argued that some Americans paid for the benefit of other Americans which is how the act violates the “general welfare” of everyone, for the benefit of some.

    –Absurdly and patently ridiculously, the FDR attorneys argued that the tax and the benefits were not even remotely related. The taxes were lawful, paid into the US Treasury for the support of the federal government and that these “social security taxes” were used only for the raising of revenues and were not set aside for any purpose, not even for benefits under the act. This is the thinly disguised fallacy that was jeered by this lower court as absurd and quite deceitful!

    –The lower court argued that:

    ” A tax, in the general understanding of the term, and as used in the Constitution signifies an exaction for the support of government. The word has never been thought to connote the expropriation of money from one group for the benefit of another. The exaction cannot be wrested out of its setting, denominated an excise for raising revenue and legalized by ignoring its purpose as a mere instrument for bringing about a desired end. To do this would be to shut our eyes to what all others than we can see and understand.”

    Furthermore, the court argued:

    –“If the act is carried out as planned by Congress…………..it amounts, in effect, to a taking the property of every employer for the benefit of a certain class of employees. The entire plan, viewed as a whole, is an attempt to do indirectly what Congress cannot do directly, and to assume national control over a subject clearly within the jurisdiction of the states.”

    Also:

    — “The Constitution, in all its provisions looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible states. Every journey to a forbidden end begins with a first step; and a danger with such a step by the federal government in the direction of taking over the powers of the states is that end of the journey may find the states so despoiled of their powers, or what may amount to the same thing so relieved of the responsibilities which possession of the powers necessarily enjoining as to reduce them to little more than geographical sub-divisions of the national domain. It si safe to say that if, when the constitution was under consideration, it had been thought that any such danger lurked behind its plain words, it never would have been ratified.”

    Here are the thoughts of the court which are instructional for us today in regard to Obama-Care:

    –“That this amounts to coercion of the states and control by the congress of a matter clearly within the province of the states cannot be denied. If valid, it marks the end of responsible state government in any field in which the United States chooses to take control by the use of its taxing power. If the United States can take control of unemployment insurance and old age assistance by the coercive use of taxation, it can equally take control of education and local health conditions by levying a heavy tax and remitting it in the states which conform their educational system of their health laws to the dictates of the federal board.” Then the court concluded, “It is plainly the duty of the courts to uphold and support the present Constitution until it has been changed in the legal way.”

    –SCOTUS reversed the First Circuit in Helvering v. Davis 301U.S. 619, and, Stewart Machine Co. v. Davis 301 U.S. 548. In the same way that the Supreme Court here rewrote the Constitution, the supreme court rewrote the Affordable Care Act.

    Here’s Helvering!!

    — “The argument for the respondent is that the provisions of the two titles (the administration had the audacity of presenting Social Security under two titles; one for the benefits, and, one for the tax) dovetail in such a way as to justify the conclusion as to justify the conclusion that congress would have been unwilling to pass one without the other. The argument for petitioner is that the tax monies are not earmarked, and that Congress is at liberty to spend them as it will. The usual severability clause is embodied in the act. We find it un-necessary to make a choice between the arguments, and so leave the question open.”

    Justice Cordozo wrote for the majority, to wit:

    “The concept of the general welfare is not static. Needs that were narrow or parochial a century ago may be interwoven in our day with the well-being of the nation. What is critical or urgent changes with the times.” Here’s where O’Reilly is onto something in that in this writing by the majority, the court reserves the right in employing deceitful fallacy in order to realize a political end. This basically was the death knell of the 10th amendment.

    LISTEN-UP BILL: This can-of-worms needs to be opened in regard to this absurd and phony rendering of these patently un-constitutional laws as constitutional by separating the tax from the benefit.

    ***Please see: 16 Am Jur 2d, Sec 177 late 2d, Sec 256:
    ***The Supreme Court has upheld many un-constitutional laws such as

    __Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), was a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court held that negroes could not sue for their freedom since they were not citizens, and, that they were slaves belonging to an owner.
    __Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), a landmark decision at the U.S. Supreme Court within the jurisprudence of the U.S., upholding the constitutionality of state laws in regard to racial segregation in public facilities supporting “Jim Crow” laws which enforced the “separate but equal” ideal.
    These two Supreme Court decisions show gross abuse of judicial discretion in the face of the written, and plainly understood, US Constitution.
    NOW GO GET ‘EM TIGER!!

  • Marian Degner

    Mr. O’Reilly, you should be proud. President Obama agree to do you favor and have interview with you, because you representing media with reporters who goes after he’s head. So, I think be happy and olease don’t complain.
    Try to put tour self on He’s skin and understand where this Nation was when he took the office, and how to help him to overcome many chalenges this Nation have with problems like drugs, teror, guns, education, Immigration, money, diversity, etc..!

    • potemkin_village_usa

      Hmmmmm! Now Marian! You just had your cookie and milk and nappy time is not yet up..so…please put your head back down until we play with our blocks and your mommy comes to pick you up…Okay sweetheart?

    • CCNV

      Marian is a hunt ‘n pecker.

  • Concernedmimi

    Good luck, Bill. I think what the people really want is for our President to explain just what was that fundamental change he envisioned for the country. Was it really socialism and why didn’t he and doesn’t he say so if he believes it so much. Why be ashamed to use the word. I guess he can’t say it like he can’t say Islamic terrorists. Seems the democrats are always breaking out their thesauruses when trying to fool the naïve.

  • Josh

    I’m wondering if O’Reilly will ask, as bluntly as humanly possible, what the federal government’s specific role is, and what actions do they plan to take, in “income inequality.” Moreover, define that term so that it isn’t as vague and open to so many interpretations.

    And since the hammer is going to drop whether Bill hugs Obama or chastises him for evading questions, I also wonder if ole Bill O’s gonna go after any answer that doesn’t get directly to the heart of it. What is the government’s role? What exactly are you planning to do?

  • Integrity

    What has the audience not heard before? The truth. QED