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White House Sets Ground Rules for Local Interviews

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

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by Keith Koffler on August 21, 2012, 11:20 am

The White House is doing something with its local TV interviews that it could not easily get away with in encounters with the White House press corps, which President Obama has been studiously ignoring: choosing the topic about which President Obama and the reporter will talk.

In interviews with three local TV stations Monday, two from states critical to Obama’s reelection effort, Obama held forth on the possibility of “sequestration” if he and Congress fail to reach a budget deal, allowing him to make his favorite political point that Republicans are willing to cause grievous harm to the economy and jobs in order to protect the rich from tax increases.

Obama Monday threw the White House press corps a bone by suddenly appearing in the briefing room for 22 minutes and taking questions from a total of four reporters. It was his first press conference at the White House – albeit in miniature – since March, and only his second of the year. Obama before Monday had taken exactly one substantive question from White House reporters since June.

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