CBS Omits Waterboarding, Other Key Issues from Obama Interview
Published: 5/9/2011 5:55 PM ET
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS's Steve Kroft failed to bring up key issues related to the killing of Osama bin Laden during an interview of President Obama, such as the enhanced interrogation of captured al Qaeda leaders which provided the first intelligence that ultimately lead to the Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan.
The journalist set the overall tone of his interview, which he conducted on Wednesday, by tossing a softball in his lead question to Obama: "Mr. President, was this the most satisfying week of your presidency?" After the chief executive gave his initial answer, Kroft followed up by asking, "Was the decision to launch this attack the most difficult decision that you've made as commander-in-chief?
Later, the correspondent waxed ecstatic about the President's full schedule as final preparations were being made for the assault on the al Qaeda leader's compound:
KROFT: After you made the decision to go ahead, you had, like, this incredible weekend where you were you surveyed the tornado damage in Alabama. You took your family to the shuttle launch and met with people down there, with [Representative] Gabby Giffords. You attended the White House [Correspondents'] Association dinner. There was a commencement address. And this was all going on. I mean, you knew what was gonna happen.While Kroft did bring up some controversies surrounding the bin Laden killing, such as the President's decision to not release death photos of the terror leader and his burial at sea, the CBS journalist kept the questions very simple: "Did you see the pictures? What was your reaction when you saw them? Was it your decision to bury him at sea?"
OBAMA: Yeah, yeah. The decision was made. I made the decision Thursday night, informed my team Friday morning, and then we flew off to look at the tornado damage, to go to Cape Canaveral, to make a speech, a commencement speech. And then, we had the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday night. So, this was in the back of my mind all weekend.
KROFT: Just the back?
OBAMA: Middle, front-
KROFT: Was it hard keeping your focus?
OBAMA: Yes- yeah.
KROFT: Did you have to suppress the urge to tell someone? Did you wanna tell somebody? Did you wanna tell Michelle? Did you tell Michelle?
Only months earlier, in November 2010, the correspondent conducted an equally soft interview of the President where he sympathetically wondered if the Democrat "sold his successes well enough" and lamented how he "lost [his] ability...to inspire and lead."
The transcript of Steve Kroft's questions to President Barack Obama on Sunday's 60 Minutes, including some of the President's answers for context: