And the first post-election television interview with President-Elect Barack Obama went to Steve Kroft of CBS News’s 60 Minutes. It aired last night.
What did the Obama camp hope to get out of this specific sit-down? Some possible hints, per the AP:
Linda Douglass, a former television journalist who was a spokeswoman for Obama’s campaign, said she wasn’t a part of the decision to give Kroft the first television interview. But she said Obama feels like Kroft asks intelligent questions that allow him to get a message across.
And, what was Kroft hoping to achieve?
Before he left, Kroft was taking suggestions for questions from around 60 Minutes. He said he wanted to strike a balance between making news and probing the human side about how Obama’s life had changed.
“Probing the human side?” Check. (Kroft: “What was your conversation like the next morning at the breakfast table with the kids?” and “How are things coming on the dog front?” and “Do you have a special transition team for the dog?”)
“Making news?” Check.
What that “news” was? Eye of the beholder.
If it’s the New York Post doing the beholding, the headline is: “O: WATCH YOUR BACK, BIN LADEN” (in reference to Obama telling Kroft, “I think capturing or killing bin Laden is a critical aspect of stamping out al Qaeda.”)
Kansas City Star sports writer Blair Kerkhoff led with something else:
Not to question the interviewing skills of 60 Minutes reporter Steve Kroft, but a few follow-ups were needed after his final query to president-elect Barack Obama on Sunday’s show. For the second time in two weeks, Obama said he supported a college football playoff.
Kerkhoff provides several potential follow-ups, “if Obama wanted to do this news-conference style.”
At one point during Kroft’s interview, Obama, too, seemed to want to offer Kroft some reporting advice (“intelligent quetions,” you say?).
KROFT: There’s been a lot of talk about [that] you talked about your mother-in-law. Is she moving in with you?
OBAMA: Well, I don’t tell my mother-in-law what to do. But I’m not stupid. That’s why I got elected president, man.
KROFT: She can if she wants to.
OBAMA: But, she sure can if she wants. I think it’s fair to say that Marian Robinson is one of the unsung heroes of this campaign. We couldn’t have done it without her. ‘Cause she retired, looked after the girls, gave Michelle confidence that somebody was gonna be there when Michelle was on the road.
She’s just been an unbelievable support for all of us during this process. And you know, she likes her own space, you know. She doesn’t like a lot of fuss around her. And, like it or not, there’s some fuss in the White House. But we hope that she comes.
KROFT: So you have a new dog and your mother-in-law moving in.
OBAMA: Steve, I’m not gonna compare my mother-in-law to a new dog.
KROFT: You’re much more excited about your mother-in-law
OBAMA:How do you get in long with your mother-in-law man? You know, the way these questions are going I think I need to give you some tips.
KROFT: We get along fine.
Behold (the full interview) for yourself:Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.