CBS’ News Steve Kroft appeared on Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” to defend what some critics have described as a fawning interview with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” and pushed back on allegations that he is the president’s “favorite interviewer.”
“First of all, I think he likes ‘60 Minutes,’” Kroft said. “It’s — you know, we have a huge audience. We have a format that suits him. It’s long. We can do 12 minutes or 24 minutes. We do — you know — a good job of editing. And I have been doing these interviews with him since a few weeks before he declared his candidacy. So I covered him during the campaign and have kept doing it in the White House. But I think it’s a question of fairness. We have not 00 I think he knows that we’re not going to play gotcha with him. That we’re not going to go out of our way to make him look bad or stupid, and we’ll let him answer the questions.”
Beyond that, Kroft explained his thought process when he first learned he was going to do the interview, and note the complex relationship between Clinton and Obama since their hard-fought 2008 Democratic primary battle.
“When I first found out about it — when I first found out that they wanted to do it, I was flabbergasted,” Kroft said. “I was in London at the time interviewing Maggie Smith. And I thought, you know, what are we going to ask them? How are we going to do this in 30 minutes? And I think we all realized that the value of this, it’s one of the things that the television can do and The New York Times can’t, is to capture the chemistry between the two of them.”
“Everybody knows the story, everybody knows how bitter it was,” he continued. “Everybody knows how they really did not seem to like each other very much. And so it was just fascinating, sitting there and watching them interact on the two shot, especially, where you could see the reaction to what was being said. And I thought it was the most revealing part because I had never really been quite sure about the nature of their relationship. I thought it was strictly professional. And that there were so many articles written about their staff, how they didn’t get along. And I thought that they were — they were absolutely on the same page. And I thought very affectionate with each other.”