On 60 Minutes’ 47th season premiere last week, former CIA chief and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta tossed President Obama under the bus on Iraq and the rise of the Islamic State. Panetta said that he wanted American troops to remain in Iraq longer than Obama did, arguing that the presence of US forces would have given the US more leverage over then Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Panetta also said that he, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the entire national security team wanted to arm the Syrian rebels far earlier than Obama did. Obama rejected their advice, leading to the rise of the Islamic State.
Now 60 Minutes has landed Obama for this Sunday’s episode. The president’s interview is being conducted Friday at the White House.
Steve Kroft is conducting the interview, but tough questions may not be part of the plan. Kroft last interviewed Obama alongside Hillary Clinton in January 2013. That interview ought to have included a number of tough questions, especially on Benghazi. But it was mostly a three-way love-fest.
If Kroft is looking for questions to ask, how about asking Obama to address Panetta’s claim that Hillary Clinton really wanted to arm the Syrian rebels — when she was telling 60 Minutes that she opposed arming the Syrian rebels.
If Kroft is ever going to ask Obama any tough questions, this would be the time. The Democrats want some distance from the unpopular president, and so do the Clintons.