Obama Blames Fox News for Stirring Up Political Trouble

In the Super Bowl pregame interview with Bill O’Reilly, the president turns the tables on the TV host.

Bill O'Reilly, host of FOX's The O'Reilly Factor
Bill O'Reilly, host of FOX's The O'Reilly Factor Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Each year the news division of the network hosting the Super Bowl is granted a pregame interview with President Obama. This year was Fox’s turn, and Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly used the occasion to grill the president on a few of the conservative’s favorite topics, including Benghazi and the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.

O’Reilly interrupted the president frequently during the interview to press his contention that the Obama administration withheld information about the attack on the US embassy in Libya for political reasons and a corrupt culture at the IRS.

After quite a bit of sparring, the president finally turned the tables and said Fox was actually to blame for keeping both controversies alive:

Bill O’Reilly: “Your detractors believe that you did not tell the world it was a terrorist attack because your campaign didn’t want that out. That’s what they believe.”

President Obama: “And they believe it because folks like you are telling them that.”

O’Reilly: “I’m not telling them that. I’m asking you whether you were told it was a terror attack.”

President Obama: “And what I’m saying is that is inaccurate. We’ve revealed to the American people exactly what we knew at the time.”

On the IRS, O’Reilly questioned whether a local Cincinnati office knowingly targeted conservative groups for scrutiny with the knowledge of president’s team.

President Obama: “These kind of things keep surfacing because you and your TV station will promote them. Bill, when you actually look at the stuff there’s been multiple hearings on it.”