(WASHINGTON) — In round two of their testy face-off, President Obama told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that the outspoken conservative host has “absolutely” been unfair to him throughout his presidency.
“Of course you have, Bill,” the president said, when O’Reilly asked if he had been unfair. “But I like you anyway, Bill.”
The president, chuckling, explained how O’Reilly had just questioned him about the botched HealthCare.gov rollout, the IRS controversy, and the terrorist attack in Benghazi, describing them as issues that are “defined by you guys in a certain way.”
“This is OK,” Obama explained. “If you want to be President of the United States then you know that you’re going to be subject to criticism.”
“Regardless of whether it’s fair or not, it has made Fox News very successful,” the president continued. “Here’s what you guys are going to have to figure out. What are you going to do when I’m gone?”
“I’ve been a big money-maker for you,” he said, grinning.
O’Reilly went on to ask Obama if he was “the most liberal president in U.S. history.”
“Probably not,” Obama said. “When you look at some of my policies, in a lot of ways Richard Nixon was more liberal than I was….He started the [Environmental Protection Agency], started a whole lot of the regulatory state that has helped keep our air and water clean.”
O’Reilly pressed the president about the expansion of the federal government under his administration, saying, “I think you are much more friendly to a nanny state than I am.”
Not surprisingly, the president disagreed. “We have not massively expanded the welfare state. That’s just not true,” he said.
The interview, which first aired Monday night on Fox News, was taped Sunday after O’Reilly’s live pre-Super Bowl interview with the president.
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Dylan Byers, CNN
Ariane de Vogue and Laura Jarrett, CNN