The HillTube

O'Reilly: Interviewing Obama was hardest task ever

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said Tuesday that his pre-Super Bowl interview with President Obama was the hardest thing he ever had to do.

O'Reilly, who faced criticism for his Republican bias and interrupting Obama during the interview, said it was important to direct the conversation instead of Obama.

"President Obama can talk 20 minutes on your socks," O'Reilly joked during an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." "The guy is very eloquent, and he can just take it where he wants to take it. My job is not to have him do that."

O'Reilly on Tuesday acknowledged many felt he was disrespectful toward Obama, but asserted his tough questions were necessary.

ADVERTISEMENT
"You're up against the clock from second one," he said. "[My job] is to have him answer a series of questions. Therefore I have to interrupt the most powerful man in the world, which I did because I'm obnoxious."

O'Reilly said he warned Obama before the interview the exchange was going to be conversational, rather than O'Reilly letting Obama dominate the talk.

Kimmel asked O'Reilly if Obama agreeing to that stipulation meant he liked O'Reilly, but O'Reilly quickly shot the idea down.

"He doesn't like me; don't ruin his reputation," O'Reilly joked.

Despite O'Reilly's reputation for disagreeing with Obama's policies, he said he tried not to "denigrate" Obama in the interview and said he regards Obama as a "patriot."

"I don't think it's fair to put any president, unless you have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, into a category that they are trying to subvert the nation," he said. "Now that being said, I'm the toughest guy on the block, when it comes to holding [government] accountable for what they do."