Greek-American Chris Kofinis, a strategist for the Democratic Party was right in the thick of a Bill O’Reilly onslaught and stood up to the Factor host quite well on the March 11 episode of the top-rated prime-time cable show.
Famous for grilling his guests with tough questions, as he believes a journalist should – he often rails against those in the media who coddle their interviewees with “softballs” – O’Reilly made no exception when interrogating the Democratic defender.
In making his general point about a general perception – and more particular by Russian President Vladimir Putin – of President Obama as weak on the world stage, O’Reilly referred to the recent mock interview of the president by comedian Zach Galifianakis – another Greek-American.
Some examples of the back-and-forth deadpan humor:
GALFIANAKIS: What’s it like to be the last black president?
OBAMA: Seriously? What’s it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president?
GALFIANAKIS: You know what I would do if I were president? Make same-sex divorce illegal. Then see how bad they’d want it.
OBAMA: That’s why…you’re not president. And that’s a good thing.
O’Reilly analyzed that Obama is under “intense scrutiny,” and so the timing hurts him, though he made clear that the interview was taped before Putin invaded Crimea. The Russian president thinks Obama is a “lightweight” to being with, O’Reilly reasons, and asks, rhetorically, whether the comedy interview with Galfianakis would help to counter that in any way (the implication being that it would make things worse).
Though O’Reilly seemed to get the humor and didn’t think the banter between Obama and Galifianakis was contentious, he said “Abraham Lincoln would not have done [the video],” because “serious times call for serious actions.”
Kofinis forefully defended Obama’s appearance on Galifianakis’ show, insisting that “the American people have a good sense of humor.” Would Putin view Obama as weaker as a result of the show? “I’m not worried about Putin watching this,” Kofinis said. “He’s probably more offended by Zach Galifianakis’ ‘Hangover 3’ movie than he is about this,” he added, taking a friendly swipe at his fellow Greek’s subpar movie – a joke that Obama himself made during the interview – eliciting a trademark mock “angry leer” response from Galifianakis.