Fox News host Bill O’Reilly sat down with the president during the Super Bowl pre-game show, where O’Reilly asked some tough (and oft-heard on Fox News) questions: Explain the healthcare website snafu; what did you know and not know about Benghazi?; why is the IRS investigating conservative groups?
During the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics, Obama will have another interview, this time with NBC host and sportscaster Bob Costas, which is in sharp contrast to the pre-Super Bowl interview. A preview has been released by NBC:
Costas: “You are sending openly gay athletes like Caitlin Kaho and Brian Boitano as part of the delegation. It’s hard to miss the message that’s being sent there.”
Obama: “Well, there is no doubt we wanted to make it very clear that we do not abide by discrimination in anything, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and one of the wonderful things about the Olympics is that you are judged by your merit. How good you are regardless of where you come from, what you look like, who you love and that I think is consistent with the spirit of the Olympics. It is certainly consistent with American values and we want to make sure the people understand that.”
Costas: “The U.S. and Russia each have their differences, but right now there is at least one area where those interests coincide. How satisfied are you about the level of cooperation between Russian and American intelligence and security forces when it comes to trying to keep these Games safe?”
Obama: “Well, I think the Russians have an enormous stake, obviously, in preventing any kind of terrorist act or violence at these venues. They have put a lot of resources into it. We’re in constant communications with them, both at the law enforcement level, at the military level, at the intelligence levels, and it’s not untypical of every Olympics, whether it’s in Canada or China or anyplace else. We are consistently working with them to make sure that not only our athletes are safe, but everyone who’s attending these Games are safe.”
Costas: “…Most people perceive your relationship with the Russian president, this might be the right adjective, this being the Winter Olympics, they perceive it as being icy. How would you characterize your relationship with President Putin?”
Obama: “I wouldn’t call it icy. The truth of the matter is that when we are in meetings there are a lot of exchanges, there’s a surprising amount of humor, and a lot of give and take. He’s always treated me with the utmost respect. I think he recognizes the importance to Russia of working with the United States on areas of mutual concern. … The truth is, with any interaction between U.S. and Russian presidents, what’s going to be primary are the issues at stake, and where we have common interests we are going to work together.”
The full interview will air during Friday’s (Feb. 7) broadcast of the opening ceremony on NBC, which begins at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT.
Do you think Costas is any more hard-hitting in the full interview? Does he need to be, or should the focus be the Olympics-related issues, as it would appear is the focus in the preview? Watch a preview video below.