Obama defends himself from array of GOP criticism

FILE - This Oct. 13, 2012 file photo shows Fox News commentator and author Bill O'Reilly at the Comedy Central "Night Of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together For Autism Programs" at the Beacon Theatre in New York.  (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invsion/AP, file)
FILE - This Oct. 13, 2012 file photo shows Fox News commentator and author Bill O'Reilly at the Comedy Central "Night Of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together For Autism Programs" at the Beacon Theatre in New York. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invsion/AP, file)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is defending himself against an array of Republican criticism.

And he did it in a live interview with Bill O’Reilly during Fox’s Super Bowl pregame show,

The interview covered his troubled health care law rollout, the 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya and revelations that the IRS targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

Obama said “I try to focus not on the fumbles but on the next plan.”

Obama wouldn’t say why he didn’t fire the secretary of Health and Human Services after the failed launch of the government’s online health insurance marketplace. But argued the website is now working the way it’s supposed to.

He also defended against O’Reilly’s questions about why administration officials initially described the attack in Benghazi as a spontaneous mob protest. He rejected “the notion that we would hide the ball for political purposes when a week later we all said in fact there was a terrorist attack taking place.”

He said “That wouldn’t be a very good cover-up.”

Obama also said there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” contributing to the IRS targeting of tea party and other conservative groups when they applied for tax-exempt status.

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