CBS News devoted 15 and a half minutes on Wednesday night and Thursday morning to an interview with Barack Obama. Despite April 15th having just passed, correspondent Major Garrett offered no questions on taxes or the IRS scandal. He also avoided any queries on ObamaCare or the Benghazi terrorist attack.
Instead, more than four minutes on This Morning were given over to a horse race discussion on 2016. (Joe Biden joined the interview for that section.) Garrett did press the President on Russia and Ukraine, quizzing, “In your mind, is there a line, never mind the color, is there a line in eastern Europe or Ukraine, that Vladimir Putin must not cross?” After Obama paused as he formulated an answer, the journalist prodded, “Can you articulate that for the world and for the Russian government?”
The President seemed to reverse the question, assuring, “I think the world understands very clearly that Ukraine is a sovereign nation that has deep historical roots with Russia. None of us think that somehow Ukraine can ignore Russia, should be hostile toward Russia.”
He finally added, “But we also don’t think that Ukraine should be a vassal state.”
MAJOR GARRETT: What I really want to know, Mr. Vice President, is the expectation. Even the optics of this [interview] will be viewed by some through the prism of 2016. That’s going to be true whatever you do from the moment you declare you’re a candidate or not. Does that change your ability to work on behalf of this president?
After Obama gave a non-committal answer about 2016, Garrett enthused, “It sounds like what you’re describing is whoever the candidate would be running would be running for a third term of the Obama presidency or an extension of the Obama agenda?”