UPDATED: The White House has declined CBS News’ request for a sit down interview with President Joe Biden tied to the Super Bowl, the network confirmed.
This will mark the second year in a row that the White House has bypassed an interview with the Super Bowl host network, which had become annual tradition for administrations given that the event reaches such a huge audience. CBS has the rights to the Feb. 11 event between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.
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Last year, the White House declined a Fox News request for an interview when Fox had the rights to the big game. Variety first reported on the declined request.
A White House official confirmed that the request was turned down. But the administration has not given a reason as to why. Biden has been in the midst of the crisis in the Middle East, as the U.S. launched retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria on militia groups that are linked to Iran.
One source familiar with the discussions said that CBS offered a 15 minute interview across their news platforms, something typically offered by all networks at any time, but only three or four minutes of that would be during Super Bowl coverage.
That said, the decision to forgo a Super Bowl interview is a surprise, given that it would provide the president with increased exposure during an election year. Biden previously sat down for interviews with NBC News’ Lester Holt in 2022 and with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell in 2021. Both interviews were featured in the Super Bowl pre-game for about four to five minutes, not unusual for the big game tradition. The president was interviewed last October by 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley, for a segment on the broadcast that ran for just over 13 minutes.
While there has been a tradition of presidents sitting for news division interviews with the host network of the Super Bowl, dating back to Barack Obama’s chat with Matt Lauer in 2009, Biden is not the first to break with the pattern. Donald Trump declined an NBC News interview request in 2018.
It’s unclear who the CBS News had pitched to do the interview. Last year, Fox News offered Bret Baier or Shannon Bream to interview the president. The White House instead announced that it would be doing an interview with Fox Soul, another entity of Fox Corp., although that was ultimately canceled.
Biden is on his way to Los Angeles today for a visit that includes a meeting with Black leaders in the entertainment business. Biden’s son, Hunter, lives in Los Angeles, although it was not clear if the president will see him during the visit.
Speaking to campaign staffers in Wilmington, DE, today, Biden said, “I am feeling good about where we are. I really am. Folks are starting to focus in, and the guy we are running against, he is not for anything. He is against everything. It is the weirdest campaign I have ever been in.”
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