O'Reilly on Super Bowl Interview: I Want to Hear Obama's Side

Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 11:16 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Bill O'Reilly says he believes he was picked to grill President Barack Obama during the Super Bowl pregame show this Sunday because his interview style is more "controversial" than most television news anchors or hosts and will likely attract more viewers.

"You'd assume there would be five or six of us that could conduct an interview like that in live-time. They chose me to do it because they understand that the last time we did it we had almost 20 million people watching it. You're going to get a little bit of bump with a controversial guy like me, and they know that," O'Reilly, the host of his own popular program on Fox News, told Mediaite.

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The host of "The O'Reilly Factor" also interviewed Obama before the 2011 Super Bowl and said at the time that he felt the president came across as "thin-skinned." But the Fox News commentator said he has a "respectful" relationship with the president.

"I've interviewed him twice: once on the campaign and then once at Super Bowl. I really think he believes I give him a fair shake. Now that does not mean we're in his camp, but we're not trying to deliberately hurt him. We do want to hear his side," O'Reilly said.

He added, "I think that's the key thing. I'm genuinely interested in hearing his response to my questions. I'm not trying to make him look good or bad. I think he respects that; I hope he does. I run into him and we've always had an amicable relationship."

O'Reilly, who also interviewed President George W. Bush in the past, declined to say which president gives a better interview but said he believes it's important to show a certain level of respect for the office of the presidency.

"I've interviewed four presidents, and they know how much I respect the office and so they know when they tell me, 'Hey, that's it,' I'd move on."

The interview Sunday will take place at the White House around 4:30 p.m. eastern time.

Since first taking office, Obama has made it a tradition to offer an interview on Super Bowl Sunday to whichever network is carrying the game. Fox is broadcasting Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, which will take place at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium where the New York Giants normally play.

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