Networks Hype Obama on Leno, but Skip This Whopper: 'We Don't Need a Huge Government'

Some comments are so unbelievable, one would think even liberal journalists would be forced to challenge them. However, even though all three morning shows on Wednesday covered Barack Obama's appearance on the August 6 Tonight Show, none of them noticed his claim to be a supporter of small government.

Talking to Jay Leno, Obama discussed the sequester and spending. He seriously insisted, "One of the things I've been trying to get across here is that we don't need a huge government. " He added, "But we need government doing some basic things and we should all agree on a sensible mechanism to go ahead and pay for it. Make sure we don't waste money." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Keep in mind, "in just one term President Obama will have increased the national debt as much as all prior Presidents, from George Washington to George Bush, combined," according to Forbes. He also pushed through Obamacare. Yet, NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning all skipped this cynical assertion.

On Good Morning America, Jon Karl focused on Obama's comments about the threat to U.S. embassies abroad. He at least noted, "[The Tonight Show] was the first time the President has said anything at all about that worldwide terror threat and it came in an appearance with Jay Leno."

Karl did play a clip of Obama talking about having lunch with Hillary Clinton. According to the President, "She had that post-administration glow."

On CBS This Morning, Major Garrett called the appearance "an unconventional forum." After playing the quotes about terrorism, Garrett also promoted Clinton: "As for the president's recent lunch with former Secretary of State and likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, there was no doubt about her familiarity with the White House. "

On NBC's Today, Peter Alexander complimented Obama's chat with Leno, claiming, "He's getting the hang of it. It was the President's sixth appearance on the Tonight Show." Alexander, too, pushed the clip of Obama talking about Clinton.

Yet, none of the morning shows had any interest in Obama's unbelievable assertion that he supports small government.

A transcript of the August 6 GMA appearance, which aired at 7:05am ET, follows:


ROBIN ROBERTS: Now, to President Obama, going on late-night TV, directly addressing those terror threats that caused the closure of so many embassies and evacuations of Americans from Yemen. ABC's Jonathan Karl has the latest and joins us this morning from Washington. Good morning, Jon.

JON KARL: Good morning, Robin. It was the first time the President has said anything at all about that worldwide terror threat and it came in an appearance with Jay Leno. The ongoing terror warning issued by the State Department is ominous. Americans traveling virtually anywhere in the world told to be on high alert for a possible terrorist attack. Talking with Jay Leno, the President sought to downplay the threat.

BARACK OBAMA: The odds of people dying in a terrorist attack, obviously, are still a lot lower than in a car accident, unfortunately.

KARL: Still, he said–

OBAMA: –violent extremism is still out there and, you know, we've got to stay on top of it.

KARL: The President also addressed Russia's decision to grant political asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, despite the White House's repeated pleas to turn him over.

OBAMA: There's been time where they slip back into cold war thinking and a cold war mentality. And what I consistently say to them and what I say to President Putin is, that's the past.

KARL: Leno also asked about Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, who has emerged as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. They had lunch just last week.

OBAMA: She had that post-administration glow.

KARL: Leno asked if she was measuring the drapes in the Oval Office.

OBAMA: Keep in mind, she's been there before. She doesn't have to measure them.

KARL: The President told Leno, despite Russia's decision to grant Edward Snowden asylum, he would be attending a meeting of world leaders in St. Petersburg, Russia, in September. But he did not say if he would also be going to a planned one-on-one meeting with Putin in September in Moscow. The White House has suggested that might be canceled.

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