Since Politico labeled it "the outburst heard 'round the world" and Matt Drudge declared that for the "first time" a reporter had been "aggressive with Obama," we've been wondering just what did happen when Brad Watson of WFAA-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth sat down with the president on Monday.
The story that's been whipping around the Web is that Watson repeatedly interrupted the president and that a peeved Obama was heard afterward telling the correspondent to "let me finish my answers next time we do an interview, all right?"
Well, WFAA has put all 9 minutes 5 seconds of its "raw" video on the Web. And after watching, we have to say we're not that shocked by either Watson's style or the president's parting comment.
By all means tell us in the comments thread if you disagree, but the tape shows that Watson let the president speak for about 2 minutes in response to the opening question. The lengths of three other answers: 84 seconds, 62 seconds and 50 seconds. That all adds up to more than 5 of the 9 minutes. Most of the other 4 minutes were given over to the president as well.
Watson's questions were concise — likely because he knew he was pressed for time.
Yes, Watson did interrupt the president at one point to correct him on the size of Obama's 2008 loss in Texas. And the president did not seem to like the follow-up question Watson asked about whether politics played a role in the choosing of where the space shuttles will go when they're retired. Obama also didn't seem to like a very short question in the middle of his more than 1 minute long answer on immigration.
But overall, from the perspective of someone (this blogger) who's been the questioner in some interviews with high-profile personalities and politicians, Watson's approach didn't seem out of ordinary.
As for the president's supposed "outburst": it's said in a whisper as he's taking off his microphone. Sure, a reprimand from the commander in chief is unusual. But it didn't seem like much of an outburst.
Still, as we say, judge for yourself. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.