Romney Cool under Fire in “60” Minutes grilling
By Dave Andrusko
After watching “Sixty Minutes” interviews with pro-abortion President Barack Obama and pro-life Mitt Romney that aired last night, it gave new meaning to what Gallup wrote last week
“Americans’ distrust in the media hit a new high this year, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Distrust is up from the past few years, when Americans were already more negative about the media than they had been in years prior to 2004. …
“This year’s decline in media trust is driven by independents and Republicans. The 31% and 26%, respectively, who express a great deal or fair amount of trust are record lows and are down significantly from last year. Republicans’ level of trust this year is similar to what they expressed in the fall of 2008, implying that they are especially critical of election coverage.”
It’s worth mentioning from the get-go that CBS decided not to air an exchange between Obama and correspondent Steve Kroft where Obama grudgingly concedes that some campaign ads can “go overboard.” Responding to Croft’s question about “nasty and negative” ads, Obama said, “Do we see sometimes us going overboard in our campaign– mistakes that are made, or areas where there’s no doubt that somebody could dispute how we are presenting things? That happens in politics.”
Obama then quickly insisted that most of the spots merely pointed out differences in “vision for the country.”
Equally important, if not more so, Mr. Romney gave a fine explanation of what he meant to say with his now famous “47%” remark, which he said was taken out of context. Well, he didn’t have to worry about “Sixty Minutes” taking his response out of context; they didn’t air any of it!
Scott Pelley went after Mr. Romney with an intensity and relentlessness that would put an attack dog to shame. The entire point of the interview was to put him on the defensive, making it difficult to come up for air. Only near the end did Pelley give Romney a chance to reflect. (For some strange reason, part of the interview was conducted on a plane.)
P.S. Pelley did not ask about abortion. Part of Mr. Romney’s answer to the question of how he would balance the federal budget was to repeal ObamaCare.
Through it all, Romney was unrufflied.
Right out of the box Steve Kroft provides support for a key Obama talking point: that the explanation for whatever failures Obama may have experienced over the last two years was a recalcitrant Republican-led House of Representatives.
Not that Kroft did not ask a lot of tough questions of Mr. Obama. Everything from persistent high unemployment, to the housing market crisis, to charges that Obama doesn’t “have a clue about the private economy.” Obama alternated between it “could have been worse” and what can you do with all those Republicans getting in the way.
The most illuminating answer, by far, came when, after touting his accomplishments, Obama added his stock response: “[W]hat’s my biggest disappointment is that we haven’t changed the tone in Washington as much as I would have liked.” To which Kroft responded, “And you don’t bear any responsibility for that?”
Obama answered, “Oh, I think that, you know, as President I bear responsibility for everything, to some degree …” Maybe one degree?
What was the biggest take-away from the Pelley grilling? That Romney simply will not allow his debate partner (which is what Pelley was in reality) to plant assumptions that go unanswered. I was impressed, as I have been for months, with his calm under fire.
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