Politico's Roger Simon: Obama 'Calling Out' Bobby Jindal's 'Hypocrisy'
Simon was discussing a quote from Obama in that interview, in which the President whined: "Some of the same folks who have been hollering and saying do something are the same folks who, just two or three months ago, were suggesting that government needs to stop doing so much." Apparently, asking the federal government to do its job in a national emergency but not take over people's health care is the liberal definition of hypocrisy.
Earlier, Mitchell asked Simon to preview the President's prime time address on the oil spill. Simon gushed: "...he's cool and collected about things but he also realizes that he has to break through that, and tonight is his chance. You know, speeches have never failed Barack Obama. They started his presidential career. They've always rescued him at tough times.... I think he wants to re-establish that personal bond he once had with voters." He could hardly wait for Obama's performance: "I think tonight we saw a preview of it in Pensacola. He likes to preview the speeches like opening a play out of town before you go to Broadway."
Here is a full transcript of the June 15 segment:
ANDREA MITCHELL: For months a voice has been missing. We've been missing the voice of Politico's chief political columnist Roger Simon. He has been struggling with blood poisoning. He's now made a welcome recovery and is back stronger than ever, having just had an exclusive interview with the President, and then appeared on Meet the Press and Hardball and you join us now. Roger, it is wonderful to see you.
ROGER SIMON: Wonderful to be back with you.
MITCHELL: I can't tell you how happy we are in person and also to read your great interview with President Obama.
SIMON: Thank you.
MITCHELL: Now you spent time – you're the only journalist who spent time with the President recently as we prepare for tonight's big speech. Tell us your impression of how he is handling the crisis and what he wants to project tonight.
SIMON: Well, it won't surprise you to learn that he's cool and collected about things but he also realizes that he has to break through that, and tonight is his chance. You know, speeches have never failed Barack Obama. They started his presidential career. They've always rescued him at tough times and I think tonight we saw a preview of it in Pensacola. He likes to preview the speeches like opening a play out of town before you go to Broadway. And he said in Pensacola, 'I am with you.' He didn't say 'we are with you.' He's making it very personal. And I think he wants to re-establish that personal bond he once had with voters.
MITCHELL: Now there's also a thin-skinned aspect to the President at times. You wrote in the Politico interview, discussing the role of the government in the oil spill, you said some of the same – this is quoting the President – 'some of the same folks who have been hollering and saying do something are the same folks who, just two or three months ago, were suggesting that government needs to stop doing so much. Some of the same people who were saying the President needs to show leadership and solve this problem are some of the same folks who, just a few months ago, were saying, this guy is trying to engineer a takeover of our society through the federal government that is going to restrict our freedoms.' So he's reacting to these criticisms.
SIMON: He is. And that troubles him, and that's one of the two moments I think where he showed a genuine irritation there, and – well, three moments. There, dealing with Congress on the same way: 'Congress, if I had gone to six months before for extra money they would have said no,' and also with the press, a continuing irritation of his. When he sees people like Bobby Jindal, you know, standing up, screaming about more federal action, more federal aid, well, six months ago, that's not the person that Bobby Jindal was. He was a small-government, no federal aid kind of guy. And the President is calling out those people for hypocrisy.
MITCHELL: Let me just ask you on a personal note, because you've been through Hell and back, and there you are, you've covered Barack Obama during the campaign, you've had interviews in the past, and now you're entering the Oval Office in a very different way. They reached out to you. You also reached out to them. But how was it different and how did the President accommodate you?
SIMON: I was really nervous. I felt like a summer intern on his first job. I've been interviewing people for decades. This felt different. You're in the Oval Office, you're in the center of power. And also, I must say, the President was extremely gracious. He didn't wait in the Oval Office behind his desk for me to come in. He came out and walked down the hallway. He greeted me, we entered together, he turned around his chair to face me. So the task is to be grateful for that, which I was, and also as a journalist to fight it and still ask tough questions.
MITCHELL: Well, you did it brilliantly. Roger, we are just so grateful you're back.
SIMON: Oh, I'm so happy to be back with you, Andrea. Thank you for this.
MITCHELL: Thank you. And we look forward to other exclusive interviews from you, from Politico.
SIMON: Thank you.