Fifth question, Jonathan Karl, ABC — Karl asks a tough question, whether Obama still believes that al Qaeda is “decimated” as the US has closed dozens of embassies. Obama insists that “core” al Qaeda is still decimated, a statement they probably laughed at on that intercepted conference call that launched the evacuation that the State Department won’t call an evacuation. Obama said that it’s still decimated and “very weak” but its regional affiliates still pose a threat.
Sixth question, Ed Henry, Fox News — Henry asks about the Oct 1 kickoff of Obamacare and which parts Obama would choose to implement if he could (he already made that choice when he delayed the employer mandate but not the individual mandate). Henry also asked about the lack of progress in getting the terrorists behind the Benghazi attack. But nothing about the CNN reports of CIA shenanigans to keep Benghazi covered up. On Obamacare, the president says that he didn’t act unilaterally, but in consultation with businesses. The law doesn’t allow the delay, but Obama blamed his actions on the “political environment.” He called his delay a “tweak that doesn’t go to the essence of the law,” even though it does. It’s one of the means by which Obamacare is funded. On Twitter, NRO’s Jim Geraghty pointed out that “Obama knows Obamacare is great, because guests at his bill signing ceremonies tell him so.” Obama then blamed the Republicans for fighting Obamacare, a position which enjoys strong majority support, which Obamacare itself has never had. From this point Obama went into full partisan attack mode, assaulting Republicans for having an “ideological fixation” focused on stopping Obamacare. Obama compared the disastrous rolllout of Obamacare to Apple “rolling out the new iPad.” iPads weren’t forced on Americans against their will. Obama then railed hard against Republicans who would rather “shut down the government” rather than “advance the middle class,” or something.
Seventh question, Jessica Yellin, CNN — Yellin asked Obama if he’ll let the government shut down rather than give up on Obamacare. Obama refused to engage in hypotheticals, then went on to attack a vast army of straw men.
Eighth question, a question about immigration reform. We’re close to an hour in, and the media apparently believes that the IRS scandal is as “phony” as Obama says he does. In response to the slow-pitch question from a reporter whose name I didn’t catch, Obama went into his standard boilerplate about how passing the Senate’s bill would fix the economy and everything else that ails us. Obama took the opportunity not to reach out to skeptics of the bill, but to scold them. That’s his style.
Ninth question, oops, there was no ninth question. Over and out and off to Martha’s Vineyard.
All in all, the media’s performance was slightly better than Jay Leno’s. But not a whole lot.