Univision anchor Jorge Ramos scored an exclusive interview with Barack Obama on Tuesday and used the occasion to accuse George W. Bush of "betraying" America. The journalist quizzed Obama on the Senate's new report on the CIA and torture. He demanded, "Is this the responsibility of President Bush? Did he betray American values?" [MP3 audio here.]
Obama didn't reply "no" or scoff at accusing the previous commander-in-chief of being a traitor. But he did allow, "After 9/11, I don't think that you can know what it feels like to know that America's gone through the worst attack on the continental United States in its history." The President added that the administration and the CIA made "some terrible mistakes."
Ramos's idea of journalism is vocal activism. In November, he told a group of journalists:
Sadly, we stayed silent before the war in Iraq and thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraq civilians died unnecessarily...We have to learn from that. Silence is the worst sin in journalism. But the best is when journalism becomes a way of doing justice and speaking truth to power.
ABC's Good Morning America played the exchange on Wednesday. None of the hosts objected to the "betrayal" question.
In another part of the interview, Ramos berated Obama from the left, chastising the President for not making his amnesty executive order sooner.
A transcript of the December 10 GMA segment is below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to president Obama. He chose not to make a public speech about the report, but he did address the subject last night in an interview with Jorge Ramos of Fusion.
JORGE RAMOS: Is this the responsibility of President Bush? Did he betray American values?
BARACK OBAMA: Well, as I have said before, after 9/11 I don't think that you can know what it feels like to know that America's gone through the worst attack on the continental United States in its history. And you're uncertain as to what's coming next. So, there were a lot of people who did a lot of things right and worked very hard to keep us safe. But I think that any fair-minded person looking at this would say that some terrible mistakes were made.