Yglesias Award Nominee

"Barack Obama has boycotted Fox News for the past two years. Obama’s boycott ended today, as he was interviewed by Chris Wallace. The result suggests that Obama had nothing to fear from the ostensibly hostile crowd at Fox. Obama showed, once again, that he is a rare political talent. In contrast with his uncharacteristically poor performance in the Pennsylvania debate, Obama handled questions about Wright, Ayers, flag lapel pins–all the hot button topics he would rather avoid–deftly. Rather than showing resentment at being asked about such things, Obama acknowledged that voters want to know who he is, and that these topics are therefore fair game. He skillfully deflected questions on these as well as more substantive issues…

In my opinion, given that Obama has essentially zero record of working with Republicans, that was extremely well done. He makes you want to believe him.

I’ve said that I think John McCain is the early favorite to beat either Obama or Hillary Clinton, but Obama’s performance today was a reminder of how formidable he will be in the fall, assuming that he gets the nomination–and that’s apart from the fact that he is the greatest money-machine in the history of American politics," – John Hinderaker, Powerline. The transcript of Obama’s Fox News Sunday interview can be read here.

One of the most striking things I discovered about Obama last year was how many conservatives and Republicans who have encountered or met or engaged him over the years think highly of him. When the partisan right tries to swift-boat him with any number of polarizing clips, smears and half-truths, his best bet is to counter them directly, in the lion’s den. He should do more of these interviews. He should go on O’Reilly and Hannity. His ability to talk to and engage those on the other side of the aisle is real. It’s an asset he shouldn’t hide.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had an election in which McCain was able and willing to talk to liberals and Democrats and Obama were often engaging conservatives and Republicans? The pressure is against such interactions, but the country would be much better off for them.