ABC's Diane Sawyer got the first interview with Barack Obama after days of criticism following last week's debate with Mitt Romney. Sawyer's simple questions and anti-Romney clips did little to improve the impression of disengagement and poor preparation that the president made last Wednesday.
ABC World News opened their TV season with an average of 7.7 million viewers, so the broadcast reached approximately 10% of the viewership that last week's debate did.
Obama told Sawyer, "Governor Romney had a good night, I had a bad night." He added, "He went to great lengths to hide his proposals, because he knows if he makes those clear, he will lose."
Sawyer showed a post-debate clip of James Carville saying, "He just didn't show up."
Obama said, "There's no doubt that I can make a better presentation, which is why I'm looking forward to Tuesday."
"If you have a bad game," he said, "it makes you more determined. The difference between this and sports is that the stakes are higher."
Sawyer said that critics had referred to the campaign and the president seeming tired.
Obama responded by saying, "There's no doubt he [Romney] made a good sales pitch, but there's no new ideas in there." He added that "Michelle is my best advisor, and she and I are in this together."
Sawyer asked, "You want it more than the first one?"
"Yes," Obama said. "You're reminded every day what's at stake."
He told a story to Sawyer about how he took Michelle to dinner the other night, and Michelle said "Thank you for saving mom's life through the health care law."
There's a romantic dinner message!
Sawyer then asked about the upcoming Vice Presidential debate. He responded, "Congressman Ryan is a smart and effective speaker, but his ideas are the wrong ones."
Regarding the next debate, Obama said, "I don't need to say a message to Mitt Romney. He will once again be well-prepared. He will give a good Power Point presentation."
Then, Sawyer crossed from news anchor to campaign volunteer. She showed a clip of Mitt Romney speaking against abortion during the Republican primaries, and a newer clip showing his more moderate position today. "Is this a lie?" she asked Obama.
The president demurred. He said Romney had changed his position and added, "Four months before the election, he is trying to cloud the issue when it comes to women's rights."
He says "There has been consistency with me. There will be consistency through the next four years of my presidency."
This evening was one portion of Sawyer's interview. Additional segments will be shown on Nightline and tomorrow on Good Morning America. Sawyer closed the interview by saying ABC planned an interview with Romney at an unnamed future date.
Big Bird would have given a better interview.