Feud not mentioned in Obama interview

NEW YORK (AP) - November 19, 2009

Obama talked about the economy, health care, South Korean trade, Sarah Palin and, in the interview's most newsworthy moment, said that Israel's effort to build settlements in an area claimed by Palestinians complicates efforts to start peace talks.

It was the president's first interview with Fox since the summer. In the meantime, the network and administration were in a well-publicized fight after the White House's then-communications director, Anita Dunn, called Fox "a wing of the Republican Party."

While on his Asian trip on Wednesday, Obama also gave interviews to CNN, NBC and CBS.

Garrett, Fox's senior White House correspondent, described the backstage atmosphere as "very calm, very rational, very relaxed.

"Look, I wasn't going to litigate whatever it was that was going on between Fox and the White House," Garrett said. "Whether it was a war or not, I was always a conscientious objector in the conflict."

He said it was his goal to cover as many topics as possible in the 10 minutes set aside for the talk. He asked Obama what criticism has made him a better leader (the president talked about differing views in his deliberations over Afghanistan war policies), and whether he planned to read former GOP vice presidential candidate Palin's book.

"I probably will not," he said. "But I wish her well."

White House spokesman Joshua Earnest said the administration had no post-game comment about Garrett and Obama's talk.

Fox aired the interview in its entirety during Bret Baier's newscast, then Baier moderated a panel with three Fox contributors discussing it.

Tongue in cheek, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said the interview "constitutes the most important truce in our history since the Korean armistice of 1953."

"We are South Korea in this particular analogy," he said.

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