Bob Schieffer Hits White House Over Obama’s Paris No-Show

On Sunday, CBS Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer took the White House to task for failing to send a senior administration official to the Paris unity march following the terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. 

Speaking to Dan Pfeiffer, Senior Advisor to President Obama, Schieffer argued that “it seems to me that the White House is always a little late in recognizing the significance of such things. I mean, we saw that happen some times over the summer. What, is the staff let[ting] the president down?” 

The majority of the interview was spent previewing President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union speech on Tuesday night but the CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent concluded the interview by noting how “the White House has conceded that you should have sent a high level representative to Paris for that rally last weekend. You saw leaders from everywhere, but I want to ask you why, I mean, did the staff just miss this”

On Sunday, Pfeiffer also sat down with Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd but the NBC News Political Director didn't bother to ask his guest about the White House’s failure to join other world leaders in France last week. Instead, Todd found time to ask Pfeiffer about his future political plans given rumors of his departure in 2015.  

See relevant transcript below. 

CBS’s Face the Nation

January 18, 2015

BOB SCHIEFFER: I want to ask you about something else. The White House has conceded that you should have sent a high level representative to Paris for that rally last weekend. You saw leaders from everywhere, but I want to ask you why, I mean, did the staff just miss this? 

DAN PFEIFFER: Well, it was -- 

SCHIEFFER: The significance of it? 

PFEIFFER: As you know, Bob, it was not logistically feasible to move the President of the United States all across the world on 36-hours notice

SCHIEFFER: Yes, I understand that. 

PFEIFFER: And so as Josh Ernest said we should have done, we should have sent someone of a higher profile, because that was the right thing to do and once we realized that we had made that mistake we took responsibility for it which probably [is] a rare thing in Washington. 

SCHIEFFER: But is this sort of -- I mean it seems to me that the White House is always a little late in recognizing the significance of such things. I mean, we saw that happen some times over the summer. What, is the staff let[ting] the president down? 

PFEIFFER: Well in this case I think that we should have done a better job in ensuring that we come up with a higher profile and we took responsibility for that. I think, look, it is always important to get out there and play the appropriate role for the president. We try to do that every time and if we ever fall short we want learn from that and do better the next time. 

Military War on Terrorism College Newspapers CBS Face the Nation Dan Pfeiffer Bob Schieffer

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