Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: The presidential press conference

Talking Points 11/14


By Bill O'Reilly

Mostly a waste of time as Mr. Obama did what he always does; provided long-winded answers to general questions.

The first question from the White House Press Corps should have been very simple. Exactly when were you told about General Petraeus, Mr. President? And why was this kept secret until after the election? Simple. That's the kind of question that allows no wiggle room.

Instead, an Associated Press guy asked an opinion question rather than a fact question allowing the president to dance.


BEN FELLER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Do you think that you, as Commander-in- Chief and the American people should have been told that the CIA chief was under investigation before the election?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obviously, there is an ongoing investigation. I don't want to comment on the specifics of the investigation. The FBI has its own protocols in terms of how they proceed. And you know, I'm going to let Director Muller and others examine those protocols and make some statements to the public generally.

I do want to emphasize what I have said before, General Petraeus had an extraordinary career. He served this country with great distinction in Iraq, in Afghanistan and as head of the CIA. By his own assessment, he did not meet the standards that he felt were necessary as the director of CIA, with respect to this personal matter that he is now dealing with, with his family and with his wife.

And it's on that basis that he tendered his resignation and it's on that waives that basis that I accepted it.


O'REILLY: Now I ran that long just to give you a flavor of what we had to sit through. When did you know about Petraeus, Mr. President? That doesn't impede on any investigation. It doesn't harm anybody. All it is, is you telling the folks what happened. To you, to you. When did you know?

With that answer we learned nothing, zero. The President falling back on the investigation, just like he has on the Libyan situation. Everything is under investigation. He can't possibly comment.

The only journalists who remotely challenged that stonewall was Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry who asked this about Libya.


ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I wanted to ask about the families of these four Americans who were killed. Sean Smith's father Ray said he believes his son basically called 911 for help and they didn't get it. I know you've said you grieve for these four Americans. That it's being investigated but the families have been waiting for more than two months.

So I would like for you to address the families if you can on 9/11 as Commander-in-Chief, did you issue any orders to try to protect their lives?

OBAMA: Ed you know, I'll address the families not through the press. I will address the families directly as I already have and we will provide all the information that is available about what happened on that day. That's what the investigation is for.

But as I said, repeatedly, if people don't think that we did everything we can to make sure that we saved the lives of folks who I sent there and who were carrying out missions on behalf of the United States, then you don't know how our Defense Department thinks or our State Department thinks or our CIA thinks. Their number one priority is obviously to protect American lives.


O'REILLY: But American lives were obviously not protected. And after more than two months we still don't know why. The only thing and I mean the only thing the President would clarify was this.


OBAMA: I can tell you that immediately upon finding out that our folks were in danger that my orders to my national security team were do whatever we need to do to make sure they are safe. And that's the same order that I would give any time that I see Americans are in danger whether they are civilian or military because that's our number one priority.


O'REILLY: But that doesn't ring true. If the President gave orders that the American Ambassador and the other Americans should be helped, why weren't those orders obeyed? Remember, no help arrived. So who exactly is responsible here? The President won't say because it's all under investigation and believe me, that investigation will be "a long and winding road" to quote Paul McCartney.

The rest of the press conference is business as usual allowing the President to roam at will.

Telemundo, asked him about immigration reform and the Latino vote. Mr. Obama answered that he appreciated all the Latinos voting for him; 71 percent. And he's confident he can get immigration reform done just like he was four years ago.

The "New York Times" asked the President about global warming. He said he is going to do everything he can to cool down this planet because our kids and grand kids deserve it or something.

CBS News asked him if he would confer with Mitt Romney over some issues. The President said he might if he could find the time.

Now, if I'm the Governor, I'm not changing any plans waiting for that call. In short, this was a very relaxed press conference because happy days are indeed here again.


OBAMA: Christie Parson. Hey.

CHRISTIE PARSON, Journalist: Thank you, Mr. President and congratulations, by the way.

OBAMA: Thanks. Christie was there when I was running for state senate.

PARSON: That's right, I was.

OBAMA: So Christie and I go back a ways.

PARSON: I have never seen you lose.


O'REILLY: "Talking Points" pretty much has seen it all on the journalism front as I told you last night. The press in America sadly is in terrible shape. I don't understand why the President doesn't do these press conferences all the time. He completely controls the room. Only Henry had him stammering.

You know what I really think? I think Barack Obama doesn't respect the National Press Corps because he knows they love him. He uses them. But he doesn't think much of them. I could be wrong.

Summing up, I learned nothing from today's press conference. And it was kind of dull to boot. Not a great way to spend an hour in America.

That's "The Memo."