President Barack Obama, who has spent seven years complaining about Fox News and talk radio, mocked Republicans at a fundraiser in New York Monday evening over their complaints about the GOP debate moderators.
“Have you notices that every one of these candidates say, you know, ‘Obama’s weak, Putin’s kicking sand in his face. When I talk to Putin (laughter), he’s going to straighten out.’ Just looking’ at him…(laughter). And then it turns out, they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators at the debate. (Laughter and cheers). I mean, let me tell you: if you can’t handle those guys, I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you.”
The president likely intended his taunts at the Richard Rogers Theater for wide exposure, since he allowed cameras into the fundraiser–a rare occurrence. Another fundraising event was reportedly hosted Monday by Jonathan Allan Soros, son of left-wing mega-donor George Soros, to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The irony is that President Obama has been thin-skinned in his approach to critical media. Last week, Obama reiterated his long-running complaints about the proliferation of media outlets. The week before, he blamed “the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists” for conflict in Washington.
Obama has also shown little patience for debate with his political opponents. In 2008, he cut short debates with rival Hillary Clinton after a debate in which moderator George Stephanopoulous–a former Bill Clinton aide–asked him about his association with former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers (“a guy who lives in my neighborhood”). He also refused Sen. John McCain’s offer of ten town hall-style debates across the country.
Update: In 2007, both Obama and Hillary Clinton rejected a debate that was to be hosted by Fox News.
This article has been corrected to note that the Richard Rogers Theater event and the Soros event were separate.