The interview, conducted with the network his administration has accused of being a wing of the Republican Party, was tense and wrought with pleas from Obama not to be interrupted. How did political observers grade the sit-down?
The Washington Post's Michael D. Shear observed that the session "was a testy affair in which Obama repeatedly appeared exasperated at being interrupted and frustrated with the focus on legislative process rather than the substance of his health care proposals."
Katie Connolly, writing on Newsweek's politics blog, called it an "interrupt-a-thon." "Baier didn't let the President have his way," she wrote. "That dynamic wasn't unexpected. What was unusual - and at times downright jarring - was Baier's repeated interruptions...It was certainly out of the ordinary for a Presidential interview, and after a while, watching him badger Obama over process questions became irritating." Still, she wrote, "it's good viewing."
The Baltimore Sun's TV critic David Zurawik was impressed with Baier, calling him "thoroughly prepared and hitting a very difficult tone of being appropriately aggressive without being hectoring or rude. It was a textbook encounter of how the press should engage the executive branch of government." "As a journalist and media critic, I salute Baier for putting the president to the test and respectfully challenging him on his contradictions and reversals -- and the subsequent flaws in the legislation he hopes to see on his desk in a matter of days," Zurawik wrote.
Newsrealblog.com's F. Swemson felt that Obama dodged "every single question" during the interview. "I wish I could say I heard anything new or interesting in President Barack Obama’s interview with Bret Baier, but all I got was the same old dishonest, deceptive and unsubstantiated double talk."
The Corner's Seth Leibsohn said "Baier just concluded the single best interview of President Obama in a year, by any reporter. He was resilient in the face of the president’s obvious attempts to run down the clock by stonewalling." "It was a model of how not to be cowed by a strong and charismatic leader and a model of a truly independent anchor/reporter," he gushed.