President Barack Obama is granting coveted one-on-one interviews at the White House to local television stations located in 2012 battleground states. The president has used the interviews to challenge decisions by local GOP officials, The Washington Post reported
White House aides have selected 13 stations for the coveted interviews since December. Despite the fact that the reporters are given just seven minutes with the President, the local stations heavily promote the interviews and doled them out over a period of days, the paper said.
The interviews have been granted to two stations each in Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. Others have been granted to stations in Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa and North Carolina. It was during an interview with a local station in Milwaukee that Obama charged that Wisconsin’s GOP Gov. Scott Walker had launched an “assault” on public-sector unions, the Post said.
He used an interview with a Miami reporter to criticize Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to cancel plans for a federally backed high-speed train in the state. He told interviewers from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia that state legislators should be wary of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed education cuts.
However, despite a number of softball questions, not all have been easy. Some stations challenged him on the debt and deficit and Libya. President George W. Bush and other presidents also have granted access to local stations during the campaign season. However, most were by satellite or when the president was in their city, the Post said.
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