President Barack Obama appeared on television last night on 60 Minutes in an interview with Steve Kroft. The President was calm, intelligent and rational, as usual. Kroft hit him pretty hard with the criticisms and complaints that have come up about him and his administration. Mr. Obama took them with grace, admitting it when valid points were made, explaining himself when that was required.
The President plans to meet with Republicans John Boehner (expected to be Speaker of the House of Representatives) and Mitch McConnell (Senate Minority leader), to ask them what they think they can work on together. He kept on talking about having a conversation about this or that issue. That seemed to me to be supremely civilized and sane.
He said it would be interesting to see the effect of the Tea Party on the workings of the government. Rand Paul, speaking of the Tea Party, was interviewed earlier in the day by Christianne Amanpour on ABC’s This Week. He said he looks forward to meeting with the President (and to his children’s meeting the Obama girls). Mr. Obama seems more than amenable to meeting with Paul and learning the specifics of his beliefs and how they might translate into, or influence, policy.
The President said when asked about the Republicans’ strong desire to extend the Bush tax cuts that it doesn’t make economic sense to spend money in order to reward the richest people in the country. While acknowledging tht it is very American to work hard and possibly become rich as a result, the goal now is to help those who are suffering, not give more to those who already have more.
He emphasized job creation. He said there is a limited number of ways to do it, but one way is to rebuild our country’s infrastructure, to equip ourselves for the 21st century. Steve Kroft countered that the Republicans have no interest in spending more money on stimulus programs. The President said he will certainly listen to any new ideas that the Republicans propose-and again, have a conversation. He also said that this country has been in worse times than we’re in now, and we’ve always come back on top. He is positive that we will come out of this on top.
When the interviewer said President Obama has been criticized for appearing on too many popular TV shows, the President replied that people say he is too remote, and that’s why he has tried to make himself more accessible by appearing on these shows. He said in the past, it was easy to pass on information through the few networks that were represented at press conferences, but now it is much more complex, and he wants everybody to have the chance to hear him directly, so that’s why he has appeared on so many different programs, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The View.
Even though I later wondered if the questions were known to him in advance, I felt good about the interview the President gave on 60 Minutes last night. I’m still very glad he is our president. Now, let’s hope some of the Republicans are willing to work with him.
See the full interview on: