In the midst of what the Obama administration says is a major terrorist threat, President Obama chose to appear again on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Tuesday night. By appearing alongside Leno instead of sitting down to a tough news interview, Obama avoided having to answer the following questions.
Leno never asked about the latest Benghazi revelations. CNN reported last week that the CIA has been hard at work making sure none of the survivors talk to the media or Congress. The Obama administration claims, though, that it’s not standing in the way of anyone who wants to testify. Both of these things cannot be true.
The subject of Benghazi came up, once, but only in the context that the U.S. might be overreacting to it.
Q What do you say to those cynics who go, oh, this is an overreaction to Benghazi — how do you respond to that?
That teed the president up to sound like a rational pro-defense hawk and to explain the embassy closures and evacuations without challenge. It also allowed him to avoid having to explain any of his or his administration’s actions, such as blaming the attack on a movie and jailing the movie maker. He also didn’t need to explain where he was and what he was doing during the attack.
The IRS abuse of conservatives never came up. Leno has made several monologue jokes about the IRS scandal, but when he had the president in the chair next to him, he never asked about it. The story has morphed since it broke on May 10, from being action initiated by “rogue employees” to now having connections to the IRS counsel’s office. The IRS counsel is one of just two political appointees. Obama has called the IRS scandal a “phony scandal.” Leno must agree, since he never bothered to ask Obama about it.
The Obama McJobs economy. Toward the middle of the interview, Leno teed Obama up to deliver his usual boilerplate talk on the economy — it needs to be fair, level playing field, etc. — with this question:
Q Welcome back. We’re talking with the President of the United States, Barack Obama.
Hey, let’s talk about the economy. Things seem to be getting better, seem to be improving.
That’s slow-pitch softball. The fact is, more than 90% of the jobs created in America since 2009 have been part-time jobs. Unemployment among teens and blacks is at historic levels. The labor force participation rate is at an historic low level. Obamacare is directly driving the rise of the part-time economy. Obama has pivoted to jobs just as his scandals have heated up and his poll numbers have sunk. Leno never asked the president to comment on any of that. He let Obama’s boilerplate comments on jobs and infrastructure go by unchallenged, when he could have asked why the 2009 stimulus that Obama fought for didn’t create those kinds of jobs years ago.
Obamacare. President Obama has temporarily swept the Obamacare employer mandate aside, despite the fact that the law he signed doesn’t allow for such a delay. Obamacare is being blamed for rising health insurance premiums, the rise of part-time jobs, and the lack of hiring across the U.S.. The government is also woefully behind its building of data security for Obamacare, which is sure to be a magnet for hackers and identity thieves. Leno never asked about any of that. Instead, he teed up Obama to deliver another speech, with this question.
Q So what’s the latest in health care? What’s new?
Leno then followed up with an endorsement of the unpopular law.
Q Well, I was able to get health care from — the guys who worked at my shop for me are all over 50. They never had health care. And I was able to get it now because you can’t be turned down. So thank you for that.
Leno is wealthy enough that he could have paid for all of those shop workers’ health care out of his own pocket.
Leno wrapped up with another softball about Trayvon Martin, then asked the president about how much he loves to eat broccoli, and they discussed Leno’s love of cars.
Of course, the neglected questions above are why Obama chooses late-night talk shows over sitting down for real interviews.