The second half of President Obama’s interview with Bill O’Reilly was even rougher for the president than the first, after he stumbled through a feeble and rambling explanation of why the reporter and Fox News are “unfair” and sarcastically asked, “What are you guys gonna do when I’m gone?”
O’Reilly aired an additional ten minutes of his Sunday interview with the president on Monday evening, touching on topics such as the Keystone XL Pipeline, poverty and the president’s support of the troops. Despite a new State Department report that found the pipeline would have little environmental impact, Obama’s answer seemed to indicate an intense reluctance to approve the project:
O’REILLY: Keystone Pipeline, a new study comes in, environmental impact negligible, 42,000 jobs. You’re going to OK it, I assume?
OBAMA: Well, first of all, it’s not 42,000. That’s — that — that’s not correct. It’s a couple thousand to build the pipeline. But —
O’REILLY: Forty-two, all told.
OBAMA: Well, that — the bottom line is what we’re going to do is – the process now goes: agencies comment on what the State Department did, public’s allowed to comment, Kerry’s going to, give me a recommendation.
O’REILLY: All right, so I assume we’re going to do that after five years.
OBAMA: We’ll take a look at it.
O’REILLY: OK. I’ll take that as a yes.
When O’Reilly asked the president point blank what his beef was with Fox News, Obama began with his typical self-righteous assertiveness. But things quickly went downhill:
O’REILLY: Fox News. I can’t speak for Fox, but I’m, you know, the table-setter here at 8 o’clock. Do you think I’m unfair to you? Do you think I’ve been giving —
OBAMA: Absolutely, of course you are Bill! But, I like you anyway. Um —
O’REILLY: Ok, but give me how I’m unfair.
OBAMA: It’s, it’s — but, look . . .
O’REILLY: Give me how I’m unfair, c’mon! You can’t make that accusation without telling me!
OBAMA: [Laughs] Bill, we just went through an interview in which you asked about — uh, healthcare not working, IRS, were we wholly corrupt, Benghazi —
OBAMA: So the list of issues that you talk about —
O’REILLY: But these are unanswered questions!
OBAMA: But, but, but — they’re defined by you guys in a certain way. But, that — look, this is ok. If you wanna be — if you wanna be President of the United States, then you know you’re gonna be subject to criticism, and —
O’REILLY: But if it’s unfair — I wanna know if it’s unfair.
O’REILLY: Criticism is criticism! It’s my job to give you a hard time.
OBAMA: Here — here’s what I would say. I think regardless of whether it’s fair or not, it has made Fox News very successful.
O’REILLY: But if I’m unfair, I want —
OBAMA: Here’s — here’s the thing you guys — here’s what you guys are gonna have to figure out, is what are you gonna do when I’m gone? I’m tellin’ ya.
O’REILLY: Our ratings were high when you weren’t here!
OBAMA: Oh, man, you know — [Laughs]
O’REILLY: OOOOH! [Laughs]
OBAMA: I’ve been a big money-maker for you guys. [Laughs]
O’REILLY: Ask President Clinton, or President Bush. I gave President Bush a real hard time.
O’Reilly also asked the president if he was the most liberal president in U.S. history. “Probably not,” he answered. “You know, the truth of the matter is, when you look at some of my policies, in a lot of ways, Richard Nixon was more liberal than I was.”
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