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GAG: CBS's Pelley Butters Up Obama, Bemoans 'Mistake' Being Too Nice to Trump



CBS’s 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley gave Gayle King a run for her money in who could be the most obnoxious, sycophantic journalist interviewing Barack Obama for his new book on Sunday. After Pelley prompted the former president to compare President Trump to a dictator who had weakened our country before our adversaries, he buttered up Obama as actually too nice to Trump and claimed Americans wanted Obama to be nastier to the sitting president.

Pelley started off by repeatedly goading Obama to scold Trump for not conceding the election, therefore weakening our country before our adversaries. Not even a hint of embarrassment from the journalist for actually encouraging the president who came up with the Iran Deal to lecture Trump on national security:

What in your estimation would our adversaries be thinking right now, Russia, China, about the fact that the transition is not moving forward? 

(…)

You write in the book, “Our democracy seems to be teetering on the brink of a crisis.” What do you mean? 

(…)

What are these false claims of widespread election fraud doing to our country right now? 

It was after this last question that Obama compared Trump to a dictator with no criticism or follow up from Pelley:

OBAMA: I think that there has been this sense over the last several years that literally anything goes and is justified in order to get power. And that’s not unique to the United States. There are strong men and dictators around the world who think that, “I can do anything to stay in power. I can kill people. I can throw them in jail. I can run phony elections. I can suppress journalists.” But that’s not who we’re supposed to be.

Perhaps the most nauseating part however came when Pelley boasted how Obama “followed a traditional commandment” of presidents before him by not trashing his successor. He repeated Obama’s own lie back to him that he hadn’t criticized Trump enough before saying “Americans” thought this was a “mistake:”

PELLEY: Mr. Obama is speaking after four years of virtual silence on Donald Trump. He followed a traditional commandment largely observed since Adams succeeded Washington– thou shall not criticize your successor. In A Promised Land, he wonders if that was a mistake. In your book, you ask, “Whether I was too tempered in speaking the truth, too cautious in word or deed.” Many Americans, Mr. President, believe you were too cautious, too tempered. 

OBAMA Yeah. And– and– and I think that’ a legitimate and understandable criticism. At the end of the day, I consistently tried to treat my political opposition in the ways I’d want to be treated, to not overreact when, for example somebody yells, “You lie,” in the middle of me giving a joint congressional address. [CBS plays clip] I understand why there were times where my supporters wanted me to be more pugilistic, to, you know– pop folks in the head and duke it out a little bit more. 

PELLEY: Was it a mistake that you didn’t? 

Oh, yes. Obama was so concerned about following precedent that he waited a whole eleven days after Trump was sworn in to start attacking him. Here are just a few more examples of when Obama supposedly refrained from criticizing Trump, in September 2018, October 2018 , July 2019, September 2019, May 2020 and obviously many times in the past month.

Like his colleague did earlier, Pelley also bemoaned that millions more Americans voted for Trump:

“[T]he 2020 vote wasn’t a repudiation of Donald Trump; it was more like an affirmation. He received 71 million votes, eight million more than he did in 2016. What does that tell you about our country today?” he complained.

Obama asserted that half the country didn’t vote for Biden because we don’t have an “informed citizenry” and enough [Republican] leaders who would stand up to the president. With that partisan answer, Pelley continued groveling, begging the Democrat to tell us how to unite the country: “How do we overcome where we are today?” he asked.

Midway through his response, Obama alarmingly pushed for the media and tech companies to “work with” Biden to sort out “truth from fiction” and we all know what that means:

…I do think that a new president can set a new tone. That’s not gonna solve all the gridlock in Washington. I think we’re gonna have to work with the media and with the tech companies to find ways to inform the public better about the issues and to bolster the standards that ensure we can separate truth from fiction… 

Ancestry and Ford sponsored this sanctimonious segment, you can contact them at the Conservatives Fight Back page.

Read relevant transcript portions below:

CBS’S 60 Minutes

11/15/2020

SCOTT PELLEY: On election night, 2016, then-President Barack Obama called Donald Trump at about 3:00 in the morning to congratulate him, even though Mr. Trump had lost the popular vote and took the electoral college by less than one percent in three states. Today, president trump declines to accept the verdict of the voters despite losing by greater margins to President-Elect Joe Biden. Mr. Obama hasn’t spoken of the election stand-off until today. We spoke to the 44th president on the release of his new book, “A promised land,” a memoir of his early years and first term. What is your advice in this moment for President Trump? 

(..)

PELLEY: In your view, it is time for him to concede? 

(…)

PELLEY: More than the courtesy of a concession, the Trump White House is declining to free up the usual funds and facilities for the incoming administration. President-Elect Biden is not receiving secret national security briefings as Mr. Trump did when he was President-Elect. What in your estimation would our adversaries be thinking right now, Russia, China, about the fact that the transition is not moving forward? 

OBAMA: Well, I– look– I think our adversaries have seen us weakened, not just as a consequence of this election, but over the last several years. We have these cleavages in the body politic that they’re convinced they can exploit. There’s an old adage that partisan politics should stop at the water’s edge, right? That when it comes to our foreign policy, that it is the United States of America, not the divided states of America. 

PELLEY: We met the former president at a symbol of America’s past divisions. The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery was a hospital in the Civil War. Clara Barton and Walt Whitman cared for patients in the building where the 16th president consoled his wounded. We joined Mr. Obama’s peers in the gallery of the presidents to talk about his book. I’m curious about the title. I think a lot of people feel that we are farther from a promised land. 

(…)

PELLEY: You write in the book, “Our democracy seems to be teetering on the brink of a crisis.” What do you mean? 

OBAMA: We have gone through a presidency that disregarded a whole host of basic institutional norms– expectations we had for a president that had been observed by Republicans and Democrats previously. And maybe most importantly– and most disconcertingly, what we’ve seen is what some people call truth decay, something that’s been accelerated by outgoing president Trump, this sense that not only do we not have to tell the truth, but the truth doesn’t even matter. 

PELLEY: What are these false claims of widespread election fraud doing to our country right now? 

OBAMA: The president doesn’t like to lose and never admits loss. I’m more troubled by the fact that other Republican officials who clearly know better are going along with this, are humoring him in this fashion. It is one more step in delegitimizing not just the incoming Biden administration, but democracy generally. And that’s a dangerous path. We would never accept that out of our own kids behaving that way if they lost, right? I mean, if my daughters, in any kind of competition, pouted and then accused the other side of cheating when they lost, when there was no evidence of it, we’d scold them. I think that there has been this sense over the last several years that literally anything goes and is justified in order to get power. And that’s not unique to the United States. There are strong men and dictators around the world who think that, “I can do anything to stay in power. I can kill people. I can throw them in jail. I can run phony elections. I can suppress journalists.” But that’s not who we’re supposed to be. And one of the signals I think that Joe Biden needs to send to the world is that, “No, those values that we preached, and we believed in, and subscribed in, we still believe. 

….

PELLEY: President-Elect Biden won in this election more votes than anyone in history. And yet, the 2020 vote wasn’t a repudiation of Donald Trump; it was more like an affirmation. He received 71 million votes, eight million more than he did in 2016. What does that tell you about our country today? 

OBAMA: Well, A, it tells us that we’re very divided. And as I said, it’s not just the politicians now. The voters are divided. It has now become a contest where issues, facts, policies per se don’t matter, as much as identity and wanting to beat the other guy. You know, that’s taken priority. I do think the current media environment adds to that greatly. This democracy doesn’t work if we don’t have an informed citizenry. This democracy doesn’t work if we don’t have responsible elected officials at other levels who are willing to call the president when he’s not doing something right, call him on it. 

PELLEY: It seems, though, Mr. President, that Americans have gone from disagreeing with one another to hating one another, a problem that this man had. [points to Lincoln]

OBAMA: He’s a good example of somebody who I think understood deeply the need to be able to see another person’s point of view. 

PELLEY: How do we overcome where we are today? 

OBAMA: There’s no American figure that I admire any more than Abraham Lincoln. But he did end up with a civil war on his hands. I think we’d like to avoid that. I do think that a new president can set a new tone. That’s not gonna solve all the gridlock in Washington. I think we’re gonna have to work with the media and with the tech companies to find ways to inform the public better about the issues and to bolster the standards that ensure we can separate truth from fiction. I think that we have to work at a local level. When you start getting to the local level, mayors, county commissioners, et cetera, they’ve actually got to make real decisions. It’s not abstractions. It’s like, “We need to fix this road. We need to get this snow plowed. We need to make sure our kids have a safe playground to play in.” And at that level, I don’t think people have that kind of visceral hatred. And that’s where we have to start in terms of rebuilding the social trust we need for democracy to work. 

PELLEY: Mr. Obama is speaking after four years of virtual silence on Donald Trump. He followed a traditional commandment largely observed since Adams succeeded Washington– thou shall not criticize your successor. In “A promised land,” he wonders if that was a mistake. In your book, you ask, “Whether I was too tempered in speaking the truth, too cautious in word or deed.” Many Americans, Mr. President, believe you were too cautious, too tempered. 

OBAMA: Yeah. And– and– and I think that’ a legitimate and understandable criticism. At the end of the day, I consistently tried to treat my political opposition in the ways I’d want to be treated, to not overreact when, for example somebody yells, “You lie,” in the middle of me giving a joint congressional address.  I understand why there were times where my supporters wanted me to be more pugilistic, to, you know– pop folks in the head and duke it out a little bit more. 

PELLEY: Was it a mistake that you didn’t? 

OBAMA: Every president brings a certain temperament to office. I think part of the reason I got elected was because I sent a message that fundamentally I believe the American people are good and decent, and that– politics doesn’t have to be– some cage match in– in which– everybody is– is going at each other’s throats– and that we can agree without being disagreeable. 

….

 

 



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