Schieffer Commiserates with Obama: 'Have You Lost Any Friends Yet?'

CBS's Bob Schieffer devoted about half of his Face the Nation interview, with President Barack Obama, to Pakistan and Afghanistan, but on Iraq he failed to point out Obama's opposition to the surge as he hoped: “Are things going well enough there now that you may consider speeding up the withdrawal of troops from Iraq?”

On violence in Mexico, Schieffer pushed a blame America first line, suggesting more regulations on guns: “It's my understanding that 90 percent of the guns that they're getting down in Mexico are coming from the United States....Do you need any kind of legislative help on that front? Have you, for example, thought about asking Congress to reinstate the ban on assault weapons?”

Schieffer concluded by wondering if, like Thomas Jefferson, Obama is finding the presidency to be a “splendid misery” and quoting Jefferson, who once said “the presidency had brought him nothing but increasing drudgery and a daily loss of friends,” commiserated: “Have you lost any friends yet?” Certainly not in the news media.

Three of Schieffer's uestions in the interview recorded Friday in the Oval Office:
- You said the other day in the 60 Minutes interview that you would not have thought at this point in your presidency that Iraq would be the least of your worries, something to that effect. Are things going well enough there now that you may consider speeding up the withdrawal of troops from Iraq?
- Let me ask you about something closer to home and that is Mexico. You talked about sending more aid to the Mexican government. But things down there are really serious, as you well know. It's my understanding that 90 percent of the guns that they're getting down in Mexico are coming from the United States. We don't seem to be doing a very good job of cutting off the gun flow. Do you need any kind of legislative help on that front? Have you, for example, thought about asking Congress to reinstate the ban on assault weapons?

- One more question, Mr. President. This week I went down to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, where they have this wonderful new visitor center. And one of the historians down there reminded me that Thomas Jefferson once said the presidency is a “splendid misery.” But at the end of his term, he also said, quote, that “the presidency had brought him nothing but increasing drudgery and a daily loss of friends.” I just wonder, have you lost any friends yet?
CBSNews.com transcript of the interview as aired on the March 29 Face the Nation.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center