Earlier this morning, Jonathan weighed in with a blog post saying that he agreed with President Obama that one Texas reporter was over the line in his tough line of questioning. In the spirit of this blog and friendly debate, I have to disagree.
While Jon noted that the full, unedited video has not been made available, if the reporter or news station did in fact edit the report improperly, I suspect we would hear from the White House. However, with no complaints thus far, I feel it's important to defend the reporter instead of the president for a number of reasons. First, reporters granted access to the president have just minutes to get the most questions answered. It's a tough job and seasoned politicians like Barack Obama know this -- they like to use as much time as they can to control the interview. If allowed to ramble off uninterrupted, Obama would (maybe) answer one question during the entire 7-minute interview.
It's in this light that I'd also like to point out that the reporter was merely doing his job. While not poking and prodding the president might make him friends in the White House, a reporter granted an exclusive one-on-one interview with the president of the United States who returns with nothing to show for it except one rambling talking point after another is not doing his job.
I can't speak for the reporter's professional demeanor and I think it's very important to maintain a respectful rapport, but it's the president's job to keep his cool and respond to the questions posed, not lecture a reporter on how best to do his/her job.
Sorry, but I think it was the president who overstepped his bounds in this exchange.