Sunday, February 02, 2014

After Contentious Pre-Game Interview, A Quiet 2014 Super Bowl Sunday For President Obama

POTUS in the Blue Room for the interview
Video: FOX's Bill O'Reilly asks about "the biggest mistake of your presidency"...
Washington, DC - After an intense week that included his State of the Union Address and follow-up trips to four states, President Obama on Sunday watched Super Bowl 48 at the White House, predicting a close finish during a pre-game interview with FOX NEWS anchor Bill O'Reilly.    

For the first time since 2009, the White House released no menu for the President's annual Game Day watch party, and also did not identify any guests joining him.  A full press lid was called at noon, two-and-a-half hours before the interview with O'Reilly was filmed in the Blue Room parlor.

The final score would be 24-21, President Obama told O'Reilly, without specifying whether the Seattle Seahawks or the Denver Broncos would be the victors.  The Seahawks ultimately demolished the Broncos, 43-8. 

The ten-minute interview aired about two hours before kickoff at 4:30 PM ET on local FOX channels.  Clad in a dark suit, white shirt and no tie, the President sat in a chair across from O'Reilly as he asked questions about the botched roll-out of the Affordable Care Act website, the 2013 IRS scandal, and the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left the U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans dead.  

Asked if Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius should be fired thanks to the problems with, the President's response was basically no:  "We all anticipated there would be glitches...I don’t think I anticipated or anybody anticipated the degree of the problems of the website," he said.

O'Reilly quickly countered, bringing up the President's now infamous pledge about existing insurance plans:  "Was it the biggest mistake of your presidency to tell the nation over and over if you like your insurance you can keep your insurance?" O'Reilly asked.

"You’ve got a long list of mistakes I’ve made,” President Obama said.  "This is one that I regret."

The interview ended on a lighter note, with O’Reilly thanking the President for his time and offering him a surprising compliment.

"I know you think we haven’t been fair, but I think your heart is in the right place,” O’Reilly said.

O'Reilly got the interview with the President "because FOX is broadcasting the Super Bowl this year," Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.  O'Reilly also interviewed the President during the Super Bowl pre-game show in 2011.

Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama had her own media outing on Sunday, promoting Let's Move! during an appearance on the tenth anniversary edition of Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl, the network's four-legged version of the Big Game.  

The live broadcast featured pre-filed highlights from Mrs. Obama's "training camp" for thirteen shelter and rescue puppies, filmed at the White House last October 28th.  First Dogs Bo and Sunny, and a dozen first- and second graders from DC's Harriet Tubman Elementary School participated. 

"Going outside to walk and play with your pet is a perfect way to get moving and have some fun," Mrs. Obama said during the show.

The broadcast will be re-aired six times, and Mrs. Obama's appearance will be seen by more than 12 million viewers, said Animal Planet.

On Sunday, the White House tweeted about the President and the Super Bowl, but did not mention the President's interview with O'Reilly.  The Let's Move! campaign also tweeted about Mrs. Obama's star turn on Puppy Bowl X.

*Top photo is an Instagram by Pete Souza/White House; second is by Amanda Lucidon/White House