Obama's Knowing 'Whose Ass to Kick' Pledge Continues to Delight TV Network Journalists

More than 24 hours after NBC's Matt Lauer prompted him to say it in an interview, the morning programs all showcased it – and even after day-long playback on the cable channels – CBS and NBC on Tuesday night delighted in again highlighting President Barack Obama's boast that he's gathering information on the oil leak “so I know whose ass to kick.”

Katie Couric put the soundbite, from a competitor, at the top of the CBS Evening News: “In a TV interview aired today, the President said if BP's CEO worked for him, he'd be fired. And Mr. Obama defended his handling of the disaster.”

NBC Nightly News provided a re-run. A day after anchor Brian Williams trumpeted as “just into us” the bite illustrating how Obama “showed some anger on the topic of his handling of this spill so far,” reporter Anne Thompson touted: “Criticized for not conveying his anger over the nation's greatest environmental disaster, President Obama fired back during an exclusive interview with NBC's Matt Lauer.”

Earlier, from Geoff Dickens: “NBC's Lauer Prompted Obama's Use of the 'A' Word

From the start of the Tuesday, June 8 CBS Evening News:

KATIE COURIC: Good evening, everyone. The President is heading back to the gulf coast, his fourth trip there since the oil rig exploded seven weeks ago today. It will be a two-day visit to once again see for himself what's going on in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Meanwhile, here's what we're seeing tonight-- fire on the water as BP burns off some of the leaking oil. And this video just released shows the power of the gushing crude before the well was capped. Government scientists confirmed today that plumes of oil are spreading far below the surface of the gulf and far away from that leaking well.

In a TV interview aired today, the President said if BP's CEO worked for him, he'd be fired. And Mr. Obama defended his handling of the disaster.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick.
From the NBC Nightly News:
ANNE THOMPSON: ...Criticized for not conveying his anger over the nation's greatest environmental disaster, President Obama fired back during an exclusive interview with NBC's Matt Lauer.

OBAMA: A month ago I was meeting with fishermen down there standing in the rain, talking about what a potential crisis this could be. And I don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick.

THOMPSON: The President expressed particular displeasure with BP's CEO Tony Hayward, who said last week he wanted his life back.

OBAMA: He wouldn't be working for me after any of those statements.
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