'60 Minutes' Escorts Fumbling Biden, Slams Danger of 'Hard-Right Republicans'

October 16th, 2023 6:40 AM

Once again, former CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley politely offered President Joe Biden a helpful platform to pretend he's taking the tough questions. A year ago, Pelley promoted Biden on more domestic concerns, while this was entirely about the Israel-Hamas war. The worst question was Pelley suggesting "hard-right Republicans" are making the world more dangerous with their failure to elect a new Speaker.

PELLEY: The president is asking for billions of dollars for Israel and Ukraine. But Congress is paralyzed. Hard-right Republicans are obstructing the election of a speaker of the house.

[To Biden]: Does the dysfunction that we've seen in Congress increase the danger in the world?

BIDEN: Yes. Look, this is not your father's Republican Party. Thirty percent of it's made up of these MAGA Republicans who are maybe -- democracy is something I don't -- they don't look at the same way you and I look at democracy.

Pelley ran the president through questions that other reporters would ask: Would American troops get involved? Should there be a "humanitarian corridor" in Gaza? But there was the moral-equivalence bit about a ceasefire. Biden rejected it: 

PELLEY: Certainly, about 1,200 Israeli civilians were killed in the initial attack, but now Hamas fighters and Palestinian civilians are being killed in the counterattack. Is it time for a ceasefire?

BIDEN: Look, there's a fundamental difference. Israel is going after a group of people who have engaged in barbarism that is as consequential as the Holocaust. And-- so I think Israel has to respond. They have to go after Hamas. Hamas is a bunch of cowards. They're hiding behind the civilians.

Pelley did not confront the president with his frosty relationship with Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and skipped over his national security adviser Jake Sullivan recently suggesting "The Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades." Oopsy. 

Instead, Biden was painted as the family man who visited German death camps: "Mr. Biden told us images of October 7th reminded him of the Holocaust—which he has studied-- taking his family to the Dachau death camp in Germany. This is 2015, the man in the wheelchair is a Dachau survivor. Behind Mr. Biden is the president's granddaughter."

Some thought the president looked doddering -- and the interview was carefully edited by his CBS friends. Pelley admitted Biden was, well, "tired" from running the country.

PELLEY: As we spoke to the president, his Secretary of State was in Israel, his Secretary of Defense was in a NATO meeting on Ukraine. America's oldest president seemed tired from directing all of this. But he was very clear on what he stood for and how his policies, in his view, would see America through. 

Scott Pelley: Mr. President, given these two wars and the dysfunction in Congress, are you sure that you want to run again?

Biden said yes, he can fix it, with no thought that America's national security and world peace has gotten worse since Biden took over. "We have enormous opportunities, enormous opportunities to make it a better world."

PS: Also a year ago, on the same show with the Pelley interview with Biden, Lesley Stahl performed a soft interview with the leader of Iran.