WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Bill O’Reilly told Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday night that his Super Bowl interview with President Barack Obama was “the toughest interview of my life,” adding that he must balance respect for the president with tough journalistic inquiry.
The Fox News Channel host of “The O’Reilly Factor” revealed some details of his pre-Super Bowl interview with Obama, and said that it is often a tough balance to blend the media and politics behind the big interview.
O’Reilly said the interview – which is traditionally given to the network that hosts the annual NFL game, this year being Fox – is difficult given the time constraints and the fact it is on live television.
“The interview I did this year with President Obama is the toughest interview of my life,” explained O’Reilly.
Kimmel asked O’Reilly if he feels pressure balancing left-and-right wing ideologies along with his own questions for the president – who O’Reilly has now interviewed three times.
“A lot of people who watch your show would like you to tear the president to pieces,” noted Kimmel.
O’Reilly responded that Obama is “very eloquent” and can steer a conversation in his own way, but that it is his job to keep the time-condensed conversations concise and on track. He said that it is unfair, aside from evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, for some to accuse the president of trying to “subvert the nation.”
He said he “can’t pick up the water and throw it at [the president],” like “some right-wingers want me to do,” but he must instead move on with the interview if the president won’t answer a specific question.
When asked by Kimmel whether the president “might like” O’Reilly, the Fox newscaster disagreed, joking that he shouldn’t ruin his reputation, saying “he’s still got three more years” in office.
“I like Barack Obama as I liked George W. Bush, I think they’re both patriots,” said O’Reilly. “Now you may not agree with their policies, you may think that they’re not managing well – that’s fine everybody has an opinion.
“But as human beings, I think they’re both trying to do what’s best for their country. So I admire that, I respect that.”