Super Bowl Softballs? Obama's Seventh Big Game Interview

January 31st, 2015 5:30 PM

For the seventh straight year, Barack Obama will be interviewed prior to the Super Bowl. Just before the kickoff between the Seahawks and the Patriots, the President will talk to NBC's Savannah Guthrie. This will be the third Super Bowl interview with NBC. Back in 2009, Matt Lauer gushed to the new president, gushing, "Has there been any surprise in terms about life in the White House? Is there something at the White House that you didn't think they had or doesn't have that you thought they did have?" 

The enamored Today host continued, "...Not only did you just become president, obviously that carries a certain amount of fame  with it. But — but you have achieved a — a certain rock-star status outside of that." 

Lauer did ask some somewhat tough questions, including this still-relevent query about Guantanamo Bay: 

MATT LAUER: But if one of those [detainees] that's released goes back and takes part in the planning of or carrying out of an attack against U.S. interests, you're gonna have a Willie Horton times 100 situation on your hands. How are you gonna deal with that? 

Of course, note that the focus is more about how the President would handle the "Willie Horton" situation and less about terrorists running free. 

The Super Bowl interview has rotated over the years. In 2009, Lauer talked to the President. In 2010, then-CBS anchor Katie Couric scored the interview. In 2011, it was Fox News's Bill O'Reilly. In 2012, Lauer again got the job. In 2013, it returned to CBS and Scott Pelley. In 2014, O'Reilly grilled Obama. The two appearances on Fox constitute rare instances when Obama talked to the network. 

In comparison to Lauer's 2009 performance, Couric in 2010 offered tougher questions. She pressed: 

KATIE COURIC: A lot of people, including Democrats, wrote to me saying, "You campaigned on a slogan of change you can believe in. But their lives and the ways of Washington," they wrote, "haven't changed at all." What would you say to them?"

On February 2, 2014, O'Reilly demanded, "Why do you feel it's necessary to fundamentally transform the nation that has afforded you so much opportunity?" 

In 2011, O'Reilly chided, "Do you deny that you are a man who wants to redistribute wealth?" 

In 2013, CBS's Pelley didn't exactly grill Obama as he wondered: 

SCOTT PELLEY: It was right here in this room two weeks ago today that you took the oath of office for the second time to begin your second term, so let me ask you about the next four years. You have just raised tax rates on families that make more than $450,000 a year and above. Are you through raising tax rates? 

Guthrie will be interviewing Obama on Sunday. It should be pointed out that the NBC host's husband is Michael Feldman, a former Democratic adviser to Bill Clinton and Al Gore.