Hardball: Diane Sawyer Quizzes Obama on the Super Bowl and Singing

According to Nightline co-anchor Juju Chang, Diane Sawyer's interview with the President on Thursday was "exclusive and candid." Although Sawyer didn't find time for questions about scandals such as Solyndra or Fast and Furious, she did manage to squeeze in queries about the Super Bowl and the President's singing.

At one point, the World News anchor enthused, "And speaking of sports teams, we asked the fan-in-chief, what is it, Giants/Pats?" After wasting one question on this topic, she followed-up: "Two years ago, we talked. You had the Saints [as Super Bowl winners]."

Sawyer chose to highlight video of the President singing an Al Green song. She joked, "A quick question about the family. Do they have you on their ringtone now, singing?"

The interviewed appeared in two, very similar forms, Thursday's World News and Nightline. The substantive questions Sawyer did ask were short and vague. On the 2012 election, she wondered, "Are you going to win?...How much do you want it?"

As though she were channeling Larry King, the journalist mused, "Watching the debates?" She did note that high unemployment makes "President Obama one of the most vulnerable incumbents in history." But Sawyer didn't challenge the President on this.

However, on the issue of taxes, the anchor did mention Mitt Romney's criticism: "Governor Romney says this is class warfare and it is social engineering."

Sawyer did quiz Obama about his interaction with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and her tense meeting with Obama in Arizona last week: "What was going on there?...She's all over the airwaves right now." Oddly, this question was in the World News segment, but cut out of the longer Nightline version.

A partial transcript of the Nightline segment:


1/26/12
11:46

SAWYER: A key part of his message, the so-called Buffett Rule, named after billionaire investor, Warren Buffett. Revising the tax code so that the wealthiest Americans are taxed at the same rate as those who get a paycheck, like Buffett's secretary, who was a guest of the first lady at the State of the Union. Governor Romney says this is class warfare and it is social engineering.

OBAMA: The question to ask them is we now have the lowest tax rates in 50 years. Diane, we've got a test of Mr Romney or Mr Gingrich or Mr Santorum's theories. We tried it for ten years. It resulted in a huge crash that lost us the most jobs since the 1930s. And why we would want to adopt something that we just tried and did not work doesn't make sense.

SAWYER: A quick question about the family. Do they have you on their ringtone now, singing?

OBAMA: So in love with you.

SAWYER: Or were they embarrassed?

OBAMA: You know, I don't think they were embarrassed. I have, I'm sure done more embarrassing things for - to them than singing a little Al Green.

SAWYER: You told us before the first campaign that Sasha had said to you, are you going to be sad if you lose?

OBAMA: Fortunately, they don't spend too much time worrying about their daddy's job. They've got their own stuff to worry about, including, doing their homework, cleaning their room, and the state of their sports teams.

SAWYER: And speaking of sports teams, we asked the fan-in-chief, what is it, Giants/Pats?

OBAMA: I can't call it. I can't call it. When the Bears are not involved, I can't make predictions because I will get into trouble.

SAWYER: You went with your heart. Two years ago, we talked. You had the Saints.

OBAMA: I love what that team has meant to New Orleans. And I'm sure they're gonna get another chance.

SAWYER: Another chance, exactly what the President will be working for in the year to come. For "Nightline," I'm Diane Sawyer, in Las Vegas

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org