Pollowitz: You’ve said that the media helped “tip the scales” to then-senator Obama in 2008, first in his primary contests with Hillary Clinton and later in the general election against Senator John McCain. Do you think the media have given President Obama a pass in regard to his handling of the Afghan war — in covering green-on-blue attacks, troop levels, corruption in the Karzai government, etc.?
Tapper: I don’t think the media have covered the war in Afghanistan as deeply and thoroughly as we should be doing — but I think that began long before the election of President Obama, and I don’t think it’s a matter of “liberal bias” as much as public weariness of our nation’s longest war. (That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be covering it more; it’s just a sad reality of news consumerism.) Regarding this election, I can’t say that the Romney campaign ever made one consistent (key word) and defining critique of the president’s handling of the war in Afghanistan that would have propelled the issue to the forefront of the debate.
Pollowitz: What’s the first thing you would do about Afghanistan if you had won the 2012 presidential election?
Tapper: The good news is (a) I didn’t win the 2012 presidential election, so therefore (b) I don’t have to come up with an answer to that confounding question. Seriously, as you know, The Outpost isn’t a treatise of military theory — it’s a work of reporting, a description of the challenges, successes, failures, and tragedies for U.S. troops and Afghans in this one remote area of the country. The only major conclusion I reach about the war is that troops should be given the assets and manpower they need to accomplish the tasks we give them. So I suppose, given that we’re dealing with the world of the fantastical, to answer your question: I would survey every commander in the field. I would ask them all what they need to complete the mission they’ve been given, in terms of assets and manpower.
Pollowitz: What’s next for Jake Tapper?
Tapper: I’m home right now with my kids, ages three and five. So Tickle Monster is definitely next.
— Greg Pollowitz is a National Review Onlinecontributor.