Couric Touts 'Rare Interview' with Maliki Which Consists of One Question
Despite the brevity of the exchange, and how it was conducted with Couric sitting on the corner of a coffee table to face Maliki who sat on a sofa, Couric touted how “he sat down for a rare interview just after his meeting with the President.” Without irony, she noted how Maliki had “a lightning-fast summit” with President Bush.
Video clip, which best conveys the hurried nature of the encounter and how Maliki jumped up at the end (1:09): Real (2 MB) or Windows Media (2.4 MB), plus MP3 audio (400 KB)
All three broadcast network evening newscasts came from Amman, but only ABC's Charles Gibson got a real session with Maliki, an interview that aired for four minutes on World News. NBC sheltered anchor Brian Williams from an embarrassing drive by encounter with Maliki, but the NBC Nightly News did show a standing Maliki responding to one question from reporter Richard Engel.
Couric did get a consolation prize -- a regular interview session with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
Couric's tease at the start of the November 30 CBS Evening News from Amman:
“Tonight: My interview with Iraq's leader.”Couric later took just over a minute to narrate her time with Maliki:
Couric to Maliki: “How frustrating has it been for you, Mr. Prime Minister, to not have greater authority sooner?”
Couric: “The recommendations of the Baker commission were not discussed here in Amman today -- at least that's what the Iraqi Prime Minister told me when he sat down for a rare interview just after his meeting with the President. It was a lightning-fast summit, but as he made a dash to the airport to go home-”
Couric, walking beside, but behind Maliki, pointing to a door: “And then you're leaving out here, yes?”
Couric: “Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki took a few minutes to give us an unusually upbeat assessment of the summit's outcome.”
Prime Minister Maliki, through translator, as he sat on a sofa opposite Couric: “I'm very happy. I reminded both of us of our victory in Iraq, the victory of democracy and freedom against dictatorship.”
Couric: “How frustrating has it been for you, Mr. Prime Minister, to not have greater authority sooner?”
Maliki, through translator: “I wouldn't say it's frustrating. We found that security forces have to be able to respond quickly because we are facing groups that require security forces that are ready to strike at the terrorists 24 hours a day. Thank you very much.”
Couric, over video of Maliki getting up from sofa and shaking Couric's hand as she rose from the corner of a coffee table: “As for reports that the Baker commission will soon recommend major U.S. troop withdrawals, the Prime Minister said President Bush had not brought it up and that any pullback would require dialogue between the two countries.”