The interview, conducted with the network his administration has accused of being a wing of the Republican Party, was tense and wrought with pleas from Obama not to be interrupted. How did political observers grade the sit-down?
- The Washington Post's Michael D. Shear observed that the session "was a testy affair in which Obama repeatedly appeared exasperated at being interrupted and frustrated with the focus on legislative process rather than the substance of his health care proposals."
- Katie Connolly, writing on Newsweek's politics blog, called it an "interrupt-a-thon." "Baier didn't let the President have his way," she wrote. "That dynamic wasn't unexpected. What was unusual - and at times downright jarring - was Baier's repeated interruptions...It was certainly out of the ordinary for a Presidential interview, and after a while, watching him badger Obama over process questions became irritating." Still, she wrote, "it's good viewing."
- The Baltimore Sun's TV critic David Zurawik was impressed with Baier, calling him "thoroughly prepared and hitting a very difficult tone of being appropriately aggressive without being hectoring or rude. It was a textbook encounter of how the press should engage the executive branch of government." "As a journalist and media critic, I salute Baier for putting the president to the test and respectfully challenging him on his contradictions and reversals -- and the subsequent flaws in the legislation he hopes to see on his desk in a matter of days," Zurawik wrote.
- Newsrealblog.com's F. Swemson felt that Obama dodged "every single question" during the interview. "I wish I could say I heard anything new or interesting in President Barack Obama’s interview with Bret Baier, but all I got was the same old dishonest, deceptive and unsubstantiated double talk."
- The Corner's Seth Leibsohn said "Baier just concluded the single best interview of President Obama in a year, by any reporter. He was resilient in the face of the president’s obvious attempts to run down the clock by stonewalling." "It was a model of how not to be cowed by a strong and charismatic leader and a model of a truly independent anchor/reporter," he gushed.