Conservative talk-show host Bill O'Reilly has landed an interview with President Obama on the pregame show before the Super Bowl Feb. 2. It will come less than a week after Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday, and could provide some interesting fireworks before a huge audience.
O'Reilly promoted the interview Thursday night on his highly rated Fox News TV program, "The O'Reilly Factor." He asked guests Laura Ingraham, a conservative commentator, and James Carville, a Democratic strategist, the first question each would ask the president. But O'Reilly didn't like their initial suggestions because they seemed too open-ended. O'Reilly said he planned to be "precise" in his questions "so there isn't a four- or five-minute answer" that would eat up too much time. He wouldn't say what he would ask.
Obama has granted interviews prior to the last five Super Bowls, dating back to 2009. Even though Fox commentators, including O'Reilly, have been antagonistic to Obama, the president decided to continue the tradition of a pregame interview with the network carrying the game. That network gets to decide who does the interview, and Fox chose O'Reilly, its top star.
The two men may be strange bedfellows but the Q-and-A makes sense for each of them. O'Reilly gets personal publicity and the chance to demonstrate his bona fides as a journalist, and Obama gets exposure to the massive Super Bowl audience as he tries to recover from a rough 2013. It's also part of Obama's pattern of using as many venues as he can to reach Americans and not confining himself to traditional settings such as news conferences and formal speeches.
The Super Bowl, between Denver and Seattle, is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. O'Reilly is to interview Obama live at 4:30 p.m. at the White House, then tape another segment with Obama that's set to run the next day on O'Reilly's show.
O'Reilly has interviewed Obama two other times, the last being in 2011.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook and Twitter.