President Obama is a man who rarely loses his cool. He’s a smooth customer who is able to charm with his words and moves – except when the audience is Fox News’ Bret Baier.
During his exclusive interview with President Obama, which aired on Fox News earlier this week, Baier, one of the sharpest and fairest journalists in the business deftly exposed a side of the President that the public rarely sees.
This rare window showcased a dismissive, pestered and unprepared commander in chief. When asked about how Democrats were planning on passing the unpopular health care bill, Obama wore his annoyance with Baier on his sleeve, and was resistant to engage with specificity. Baier, unwilling to back down, cornered him on the manipulative legislative tactics being employed by his party.
“If they vote against, then they're going to be voting against health care reform and they're going to be voting in favor of the status quo,” Obama said. “So Washington gets very concerned about these procedural issues in Congress… ”
Rules, schmooles, says the President.
He seemed unconcerned with the shenanigans of Democratic leadership and process, refusing to respond to Baier’s questions about tricks like the Slaughter Strategy, except to say the process was “ugly” no matter which party was in power.
Mr. President, you are the commander in chief and you campaigned on changing the culture of Washington, not riding shotgun to it.
Baier was firm, respectful and persistent. He pressed him on process and policy; Obama was devoid on details for both. For someone who has been working on this effort for over a year, you’d think Obama would have a better handle on the policy but instead, the process has been so convoluted, so complicated, and so perverse it was apparent that even he can’t keep up with the talking points.
He also, unintentionally, revealed that he is unsure what’s even in the legislation.
“By the time the vote has taken place, not only I will know what's in it, you'll know what's in it because it's going to be posted and everybody's going to be able to able to evaluate it on the merits,” Obama answered.
Shouldn’t we -- and shouldn’t the president -- know what’s in it before it passes?
In typical Obama fashion he tried to stonewall his interregator and run out the clock, but Baier – the only anchor to do so thus far -- rightly called him out on his trademark filibustering, in other words talking at length to prevent Baier from challenging him on his verbose responses. It was the most uncomfortable moment of the segment, and Baier should be proud. That took guts.
The interview was more than telling, it was symbolic. The contrast of Baier’s peak performace revealed an Obama at a career low. His questions revealed the uncertainty of our leader -- and thus the direction of our country, and reflected the mood of man whose presidency is on the line.
Andrea Tantaros is a conservative commentator and FoxNews.com contributor. Follow her on Twitter @andreatantaros.
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Andrea Tantaros currently serves as co-host of Fox News Channel's The Five (weekdays 5-6 PM/ET). She joined the network as a contributor in 2010. Follow her on Twitter @andreatantaros or on Facebook.com/andreatantaros. Click here for more information on Andrea Tantaros.