Could Meredith Vieira be emerging as one of the morning shows' most incisive inquisitioners? As we noted here, Katie Couric's replacement at "Today" recently gave Ted Kennedy a rather rough going-over regarding his legislative proposal to require the president to obtain congressional approval for a surge.
This morning, she took on the hitherto untouchable Barack Obama. And while her tone and line of questioning were not disrespectful, neither was there any hint of the kind of MSM cheerleading that the junior senator from IL has no doubt come to expect.
Before we get to Vieira's questions, take a good look at the screencap. By his super-serious mien and the marble-pillared setting he chose for the interview, Obama was clearly trying to project the image of a ready-for-prime-time Commander-in-Chief. Call him "Stone Cold Barack Obama."
From the get-go, it was clear that any MSM pom-poms had been carefully stowed. When Obama asserted that there's no evidence the Maliki government "is willing to make the political accomodations with Sunnis and other disaffected parties in Iraq that will lead to an end to the bloodshed," Meredith shot back: "but the President said last night that he had made it clear to the Prime Minister and other Iraqi leaders that America's committment is not open-ended and he said Maliki understood that and would make changes by November." She then squarely put Barack on the hot seat: "You do not believe that?"
View video here.
When Obama then claimed that the president had failed to answer his question as to the consequences for Iraqi failure to meet benchmarks, Meredith abruptly turned the tables on him: "What should they be, Senator?"
And a bit later: "But senator, what if the President is right and if we were to remove the troops, redeploy them, the country, Iraq, would fall into total chaos? We would lose total control of that country. Are you willing to face that possibility?"
Later still, Vieira effectively questioned whether Obama had the courage of his convictions: "The surge is starting. What can you do as a senator, what are you willing to do to stop the troops from going there if indeed you feel they should not go there?" Getting specific, she asked: "Would you support Senator Kennedy's resolution, then, that would force the President to go to Congress before authorizing any other troops to be sent there?"
The focus here has been on Vieira's questions rather than Obama's answers. But anyone imagining that Obama is a new, obfuscation-eschewing breed of politician should check his response: "Well, I think there are going to be a range of options that are going to be proposed. I believe the first order of business in the Senate is an up-or-down vote on a non-binding resolution." Dodge City!
NewsBusters' mission is that of exposing and combating liberal media bias. But fairness and enlightened self-interest oblige us to recognize a job well and fairly done by Meredith this morning, the second time in a row she's held a prominent Dem's tootsies to the toaster. Will she keep up the good work as the campaign season heats up?
Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org