Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and President Barack Obama went back and forth for a tense 10 minutes Sunday afternoon, in a pre-Super Bowl interview that focused on the IRS, the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, and the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.
O’Reilly opened the interview by saying he wanted to get some things “on the record,” and the two ended up sniping back and forth for most of the interview.
He asked Obama, point blank, why he did not fire Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius after the flummoxed rollout of his signature health-care law.
“Why didn’t you fire Sebelius?” O’Reilly said.
He avoided a direct answer, but Obama said that people were being “held accountable.” O’Reilly subsequently questioned Obama on whether his promise that, “If you like your plan, you can keep it” was his biggest “mistake” as president. Obama used a football analogy at the end of this line of questioning, saying he was trying to not dwell on the “fumbles” and move on to the next play.
O’Reilly also asked Obama if he was told in the initial aftermath of the 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that it had been a “terrorist attack.”
“When someone is attacking our compound, that’s an act of terror,” Obama said, adding that he had used that phrase in a Rose Garden statement the day after the attack.
“Your detractors believe that you did not tell the world it was a terror attack because your campaign didn’t want that out,” O’Reilly said. “That’s what they believe.”
“And they believe it because folks like you are telling them that,” Obama shot back.
After some intense questioning about last year’s revelation that the IRS targeted certain groups, including conservative groups, for extra scrutiny, Obama took another jab at Fox News.
“These kinds of things keep on surfacing in part because you and your TV station will promote them,” he said.
O’Reilly and Obama conducted an additional taped interview that will air Monday night on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
Here’s the full video, courtesy of Fox News:
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