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Getting That Presidential Interview Just Right

NPR's Steve Inskeep waits for President Obama in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

Interviewing a sitting president is no small deal. There are the physical logistics of it — getting together the interviewer, editors, producer, engineer, and a five-person video crew, plus all that audio and video equipment. And then, importantly, the preparation that goes into asking timely, tough and interesting questions.

Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep has interviewed the president eight times, and he stopped by the NPR Politics Podcast to take you behind his latest, year-end interview with Obama. He's joined by political editor Domenico Montanaro, visuals editor Kainaz Amaria and campaign reporter Sam Sanders.

One of the toughest things about a presidential interview to balance, Inskeep said, is respecting the office while still asking hard questions.

"They have an aura about them because they are president, you have to respect that," Inskeep said. "Yet, on another level, this is a democracy. You are a journalist. Your job is just to say 'hello' like they're just anybody and ask them the rudest question that's on your mind. You want to be respectful, but if you've got a hard question, you've got to ask it."

You can hear and watch NPR's interview with President Obama on Morning Edition and starting Monday. You can subscribe to the NPR Politics podcast here.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

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