With nary a mention of Solyndra or Fast & Furious, Steve Kroft's recent 60 Minutes interview of President Obama was already one of the year's finest examples of softball, newsless thumb-suckers that lead the right to tar reporters as liberals.
Now comes yet another reason for conservatives to suspect Kroft: CBS edited out Obama's comment suggesting he's the fourth-best president of the modern United States.
"As you yourself said, Steve, I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president -- with the possible exceptions of Johnson, FDR and Lincoln. You know, just in terms of what we've gotten done in modern history," Obama said, according to a clip that never made it to broadcast.
MSM-bashing NewsBusters had a field day. A sample:
Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your Obama. That's because in his not so humble opinion, he ranks even higher than John F. Kennedy. Don't feel so bad, President Kennedy. Obama also feels that his administration is better than that of Presidents Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan to name a few.
Hey, Woodrow Wilson! You failed to get the U.S. Senate to vote for a treaty to join the League of Nations. That's because you lacked the up close and personal political skills of our Obama who is renown for shmoozing politicians. The administration of Harry Truman brought about NATO and the Marshall Plan that saved Europe? Boring! Obama used his incredible diplomatic skills to bring the Olympics to Chicago. Okay, he came sort of close to doing it but, hey, he bagged a Nobel Peace Prize for basically existing. Beat that, Harry!
But it's not just conservatives who felt Kroft's interview was lacking. The Atlantic autopsied the interview the best, noting how frustrating it is for serious reporters with serious questions to watch an interview like that squandered. But chances are good that, if the president's handlers knew Kroft was going to ask some truly uncomfortable questions, Kroft wouldn't have gotten the chance.
Were I an adviser to President Obama, I'd urge him to give his next exclusive to Kroft too, for there is a superficial toughness to his interviews. "There are people in your own party who think that you were outmaneuvered. That you were stared down by John Boehner and Grover Norquist and capitulated," Kroft says at one point. Later he notes that "You say that you rallied the country, but these poll numbers show otherwise. They show that 75 percent thinks the country's on the wrong track." As a political operative, these are exactly the sorts of questions I'd want the struggling politician for whom I worked to get, because it appears that he has volunteered to sit down with a tough interviewer, but actually he is being given an opportunity to offer free-ranging explanations for something that no one can deny: lots of people in America are unhappy with him.
Here's the NewsBusters' video, replete with Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 to ensure a Masterpiece Theater-like arrogance: