Tags: biden | tv | interview

Obama Bans TV Station over Biden Questions

Sunday, 26 Oct 2008 11:52 AM

By Phil Brennan

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Angry over a hard-nosed interview during which Barbara West of Orlando’s WFTV peppered Sen. Joe Biden with the kind of probing questions the pro-Obama mainstream media refuses to ask, the Obama campaign has completely banned the television station from future access and interviews.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Biden was so disturbed by West's searching questions that the Obama campaign canceled a WFTV interview with Jill Biden, the candidate's wife.

"This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best, for the duration of the remaining days until the election," wrote Laura K. McGinnis, Central Florida communications director for the Obama campaign.

McGinnis said the Jill Biden cancellation was "a result of her husband's experience yesterday during the satellite interview with Barbara West."

During the interview, West asked Biden: "Aren't you embarrassed by the blatant attempts to register phony voters by ACORN, an organization that Barack Obama has been tied to in the past?"

Biden appeared flustered by the question, but quickly gained his composure and denied that Obama had been close to ACORN.

Biden claimed that the campaign had not paid ACORN any money to register voters.

West did not challenge Obama on this point, though during the Democratic primary in Ohio, the Obama campaign had, in fact, paid more than $800,000 to an ACORN-backed group. West did note that Obama has worked with this group in the past. [See: Obama and ACORN: You Can Run But You Can't Hide].

West again stung Biden, asking him about Obama's statement to Joe the plumber that he planned to "spread the wealth around."

West queried: "A Gallup poll showed 84 percent of Americans prefer the government focus on improving economic conditions and creating more jobs in the U.S., as opposed to taking steps that distribute wealth. Isn't Senator Obama's comment a potentially crushing political blunder?"

Dodging the question, Biden attacked the Bush economic and tax policies and Sen. John McCain's tax program.

West bored in, quoting Karl Marx's "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs," and asked Biden, "How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?"

Biden appeared stunned and asked, "Are you joking? Is this a joke?"

He then insisted that despite Obama's declaration that he would spread the wealth around, Obama "is not spreading the wealth around."

West then asked Biden about his now-famous statement that Obama would be tested and would not be able to stand up to the challenge without help.

"Are you forewarning Americans that nothing will be done and that America's days as the world's leading power are over?" West asked.

An obviously annoyed Biden responded by asking West who was writing her questions. West is a veteran TV news journalist who had worked as Peter Jennings' producer at ABC News.

Biden responded that whoever is elected will be tested, and then attacked McCain's record.

West returned to the “spreading the wealth” question, asking Biden what he'd "say to the people who are concerned that Barack Obama will want to turn America into a socialist country much like Sweden?"

Biden again ducked the question, saying only that he didn't know anybody who thinks that, "except the far-right wing of the Republican Party."

WFTV news director Bob Jordan told the Sentinel: "When you get a shot to ask these candidates, you want to make the most of it. They usually give you five minutes."

He added that political campaigns in general pick and choose the stations they like. And stations often pose softball questions during the satellite interviews.

"Mr. Biden didn't like the questions," Jordan said. "We choose not to ask softball questions. "

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