David Zurawik, The Baltimore Sun:
As much credit as I give Obama for taking his healthcare message to Fox News and staying on point, I also praise Baier for being 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. Think of it as the antidote to NBC anchorman Brian Williams’ bow to Obama in his prime-time White House special last year.
Katie Connolly, Newsweek:
I can imagine the interview was frustrating for both parties. Obama has a tendency to be long winded, especially when talking about health care. But anyone who has tried to talk seriously about the subject knows that is nigh impossible to do so in the space of a soundbite without being inaccurate.
Baier refused to indulge Obama’s verbosity. Most reporters would similarly push for answers in a combative interview with somebody a bit less important. It was certainly out of the ordinary for a Presidential interview, and after a while, watching him badger Obama over process questions became irritating.
The President too seemed a little exasperated, asking Baier three times to let him finish his answers, and once accusing him of interrupting.
Doug Clawson, RealClearPolitics
Frankly, I didn’t think Baier was rude at all. He was doing his best to at least stay even with the most powerful person on earth. Did he talk over the president at times? Yes, but if he hadn’t, the network would have had a right to bill the Democratic Party for the president’s 20-minute advertisement for health-care reform. When it was over, Baier even politely apologized for interrupting so often, saying, ” I tried to get the most for our buck here.”
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• More: JohnnyDollar has the audio from Brian & the Judge where Baier talks about the interview: “I’ve got to do something or I’m going to get rolled.”