Obama: Turn Off Fox News

Obama suggests patron ask bar owner to switch off the conservative-leaning cable network.

KEVIN LAMARQUE / Reuters

PARMA, Ohio — At an unscheduled stop at Ziggy’s Pub and Restaurant, an Amherst, Ohio bar, President Barack Obama suggested that the channel be changed when he was made aware that televisions were showing Fox News.

Obama and Fox News have gone to war frequently during his three and a half years in office — most recently over a sharply negative teaser shown on Fox and Friends that the White House took as a Fox News-sponsored attack ad on the president.

The Obama Administration frequently used the network as a proxy punching bag for its Republican opponents in the early years of his presidency. Fox’s personalities, led by Glenn Beck, fired back with more and more incendiary comments, but a somewhat delicate balanced was reached after the 2010 election in which both sides toned down their rhetoric.

The exchange, per pooler Mark Landler:

As he thanked the group for their support, one of them, Jeff Hawks, gestured to one of the TV’s and said, “You’re in a building that has Fox news on.”

Obama suggested that Hawks ask for it to be changed. “The customer is always right,” he said.

“I’ll arm-wrestle you for your vote,” Hawks said to Obama. “No, I’ll play basketball for your vote,” he replied.

UPDATE: Landler adds, in an addendum to a new pool report, that Obama’s remarks were in jest:

When President Obama told a patron at Ziggy’s bar in Amherst, OH that he suggest that the TV be switched from Fox, he made the remark in a humorous exchange, as did in a subsequent exchange about arm-wrestling or playing basketball over the patron’s vote.

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