Major Garrett of FOX News Asks Barack Obama: "What Took You So Long (on Iran)?"
GLENN: Dan, do we have the question from Major Garrett yesterday? This is yesterday's press conference. Finally somebody will step to the plate and challenge, you know, that the president will actually call on. Major Garrett, here he is yesterday in the press conference.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Major Garrett, where is Major?
GARRETT: Right here. In your opening remarks, sir, you said about Iran that you were appalled and outraged. What took you so long?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I don't think that's accurate. Track what I've been saying. Right after the election I said that we had
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GLENN: I want to get right to Major Garrett who is on the phone with us from Washington. How are you?
GARRETT: Glenn, I'm fine, how are you?
GLENN: Is it a little spooky at all when you are pushing him?
GLENN: Because it's not?
GLENN: Because did you and maybe this is just me. Did you notice he's he was especially with you, but a couple of times I think he's becoming testy with people, "How dare you question me."
GARRETT: Well, I've been through this before with Candidate Obama. The last interview that I was allowed to do with Candidate Obama was in March of last year. You may have remembered it. It was about at the height of the Jeremiah Wright controversy. The campaign gave three interviews, one to Keith Olbermann, one to Anderson Cooper and one to me. I'll let you remember and perhaps you can product your audience to recall which of the three was the toughest. The Candidate Obama was not happy with that interview. I'm haven't been granted one since. I'm going to get one as the senior White House correspondent mark my words. When that will happen I'm not sure. It will be sooner rather than later but we're going to get one.
GLENN: Do you sense at all a change in his demeanor or a change in the willingness of the press to just go along with him?
GARRETT: Well, yesterday was a different press conference entirely. Anyone who watched it knows that. There's two or three reasons for that. One and this is a reality that I try my very hardest, Glenn, not to fall prey to but I'm human like everyone else. I'd say a lot of other reporters fall prey to it. I don't know how much they resisted. I just know I resisted. But reporters watch polls and they get tougher when polls begin to turn. That's not as it should be, but that's how it is. Polling data has shown increasing skepticism of this president and his programs, not him personally. And this was inevitable. As the presidency continues, personality recedes; policy moves forward. And what happens to that policy and how the country reacts to it comes to the fore. You saw a lot more pointed policy questions yesterday of the president and more follow ups. There's another reason for that. We were in our crib, as the young people would say. We were in the briefing room. We were in the most comfortable place we can find ourselves in dealing with the president of the United States. We're not on those Louis XIV chairs, we don't have the glides, we don't have the ceremony and pomp and circumstance of a prime time national audience and all those things that tend to work to the president's benefit and to our psychological detriment.
Now, look. This is the fourth press conference. I've gotten three questions. I was skipped at the last one because the Fox broadcast network didn't carry it and that was retribution against me personally. But you look at all three questions I have asked and all the press conferences. They have all been tough, on point and newsworthy. That's what I do.
GLENN: I tell you, you and Jake Tapper I think are the only ones holding his feet to the fire. When you said yesterday, you said are you going to allow them to are you going to allow the Iranians to go to our hot dog cookouts on Fourth of July? Are they still invited at the embassy? He had no answer.
GLENN: That is incredible to me.
GARRETT: And all that we have is that the State Department is reviewing that. And I said to Robert Gibbs in an e mail yesterday, "Well, the president is the ultimate reviewer. Let me know when he decides." No word yet.
GLENN: Major, who is paying for these czars? Do you know?
GARRETT: The American taxpayer.
GLENN: I know that, but what department do they fall under? How are they who do they answer to besides the president of the United States?
GARRETT: Under the Office of Personnel Management, they are executive branch employees.
GLENN: Are you at all concerned or is anybody there concerned with the growing power of the executive branch and the media seemingly just kind of turning a blind eye? Is anybody I'm asking you as are you feeling anything from the reporters around you like, "Gee, I don't know, maybe this might be the wrong..." or is it just polls?
GARRETT: On that particular question, Glenn, I don't detect any particular curiosity or anxiety. One of the realities of covering this White House is, and the old cliche about covering the White House, it's always like drinking through a fire hose, that's a very, very old cliche, I would say now it's like drinking some days through seven. There are so many fronts going, there are so many different things happening, and that's part of the White House strategy to move so many different on so many different policy fronts so rapidly that, A, the political opposition that they face finds it hard to get a toehold; and B, the legislative process which they have great control over because they have sympathetic and largely compliant Democratic majorities in the house and Senate, moves their things along rapidly.
GLENN: Do you find it a coincidence that they are doing something as outrageous as giving ABC the full night to cover healthcare, that everyone is talking about healthcare, Iran or community service and yet Friday there's a vote on the Hill on cap and trade?
GARRETT: Cap and trade, absolutely. Appeared yesterday there was a significant policy development there.
GLENN: What was it? Good
GARRETT: The agriculture committee which has been resisting it now has an exemption for cap and trade carbon based levies that are related to ethanol. So now the agriculture interests are happier, Democrats are coming on board. It has a better chance of succeeding than it did a day ago. That's an enormous policy story with implications throughout the Midwest and for taxpayers across the country and for whatever our environmental policy is going to be. That's an afterthought because so many other things are happening. Of course, Glenn, I can't say outrageous or not about what ABC is doing. I'm a reporter here covering the White House. Every White House negotiates what it can and what it can most I guess effectively negotiate with networks that cover it. They negotiated this with ABC. The public will judge, I will judge, everyone can watch for themselves and draw their own conclusions.
GLENN: All right. Major, you keep it up.
GARRETT: Thanks, Glenn.
GLENN: Major Garrett with Fox News.