A few hours before the big game began, CBS aired the traditional pre-game presidential interview. This time, it was anchor Norah O’Donnell’s turn to interview the president, and because he’s a Democrat, the journalist didn’t criticize or grill him at all, even though that’s what her CBS colleague Margaret Brennan did to President Trump in 2019.
In fact, at one point she even flattered the the 78-year-old by comparing him to NFL athletes!
As we previewed this weekend, these near-annual interviews have a predictable pattern: Democrats typically get off easy, while Republicans get skewered. This year was no different. There was only one semi-confrontational question if you could call it that, where O’Donnell asked Biden, “Can you do something in terms of going to Moderna and Pfizer saying we need more production?”
After a mixture of other concerned questions about COVID-19 such as can schools reopen, “can we wait” for herd immunity, and if there will be a normal Super Bowl next year, O’Donnell moved on to chatting about the upcoming game. That’s when she stroked Biden’s ego by praising his [former] athleticism:
“So many people might not know, that you were once a pretty good receiver yourself back in the day,” the journalist gushed, adding, “But as a former receiver, which quarterback would you rather have throw to you? Tom Brady or [Patrick] Mahomes?”
Compare this softball interview to the hard-hitting politics driven interview Bill O’Reilly gave to President Trump at the Super Bowl, his first year in office.
Strangely enough, CBS did ask more policy-driven questions to Biden in this same interview, in segments that aired on Friday's CBS Evening News and Face the Nation Sunday morning, but did not air during the game, even though the network's website promised they would. O'Donnell asked about who was going to get the next round of stimulus checks, and raising the minimum wage, but she also asked anti-Trump softballs, such as if "dangerous and reckless" Trump should still receive intelligence briefings, and if he would've voted to impeach President Trump as Senator. She also asked, "What's your worst fear, if he continues to get these intelligence briefings?"
See all the questions that aired during the Super Bowl pre-game in the transcript below:
CBS's The Super Bowl Show
NORAH O’DONNELL: This Super Bowl will be unlike any others. Do you think a year from now there will be a Super Bowl where we can play in front of a filled stadium?
But there will be some house parties happening.
People want to know when things are going to be back to normal and the road ahead is pretty daunting. To get herd immunity, Dr. Fauci has said you have to have at least 75% of Americans vaccinated. We did the math and at the current rated of 1.3 million doses a day, it's going to take almost a year to get there. Can we wait that long?
Are you going to use them? (football stadiums to vaccinate)
You're President of the United States, Commander in Chief. Can you do something in terms of going to Moderna and Pfizer saying we need more production?
Let's turn to schools. About 20 million American children haven't been in the classroom for nearly a year. There's a mental health crisis happening. Women are dropping out of the workforce, is this a national emergency?
Do you think it's time for school to reopen?
It's so hard for kids not to be playing sports now.
So many people might not know, that you were once a pretty good receiver yourself back in the day.
But as a former receiver, which quarterback would you rather have throw to you? Tom Brady or Mahomes?
You thinking the Kansas City Chiefs may win?