ABC Spikes Tapper's Fast and Furious Question to Obama but Makes Time for Exchange on Children's Books
ABC's Jake Tapper on Tuesday pressed Barack Obama on the Fast and Furious gun scandal, but his network didn't allow the question to appear on Nightline, World News or Good Morning America. (All played clips of the interview.) Instead, ABC found time to air Tapper and the President playfully discussing children's books and the greatness of Dr. Seuss.
During the two-segment long Nightline interview, Tapper hyped, "At the school where we spoke, the President showed off his personal knowledge of children's books." The journalist informed Obama, "I'm a big Dr. Seuss guy." [MP3 audio here.]
Though the Fast and Furious scandal of allowing of guns to be sold and taken into Mexico didn't make it to air, the transcript can be found on ABCNews.com. (It was also promoted on ABC News' website.) Tapper quizzed, "The Justice Department, the ATF was moving guns and some of them were tied to crime scenes. What was your response when you first heard about it?"
The President gave a lengthy answer, stonewalling responsibility: "This is not something we were aware of in the White House and the Attorney General it turns out wasn't aware of either. Obviously Eric Holder has launched a full investigation of this, it is not acceptable for us to allow guns to go into Mexico."
On the subject of the demonstrations in New York, the reporter wondered, "Some of the frustration has come out in this Occupy Wall Street protest. You've expressed sympathy with their position, their feeling of powerlessness."
Unlike MSNBC's Martin Bashir on Tuesday, he didn't mention the radical nature of some of the protesters, the anti-Semitism or violence.
Also absent was any mention of a key defeat for Obama on an important part of Obamacare, the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act (CLASS). Last week CLASS was killed by the administration. As of yesterday, the big three networks had devoted a mere 40 seconds.
At one point, Tapper empathized, "There's a little tone of frustration and one of your friends told me that you are deeply frustrated and worried about the economy."
On another occasion, he sympathetically told Obama, "It's grueling, though, this stuff [doing constant events]. Do you like it?"
Tapper should be given credit for being one of the few journalists to cover issues such as Fast and Furious. Additionally, he did press the President on falling poll numbers, asserting, "The math is tough for you. 47 percent of the country voted against you with everything going your way, pretty much."
Tapper added, "It's not difficult to think that there are four million Americans who think, 'Well, I gave him a shot, it didn't work, unemployment is still high, let's give this another guy a chance.'"
However, it would be nice if more of his tough questions made it to air and the stories on Dr. Seuss were cut.
A partial transcript of the October 18 Nightline segment can be found below: