Obama team defends People, ET interviews
August 19th, 2012
10:57 AM ET
2 years ago

Obama team defends People, ET interviews

(CNN) – Interviews with People magazine and Entertainment Tonight are just as important as sit-downs with national news media, President Barack Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said Sunday.

"Not more important, but equally important, and that is where a lot of Americans get their news," Cutter said on CNN's "State of the Union." Obama answered questions from both People and ET this week, and while the questioning included some softballs, both interviews probed Obama about Vice President Joe Biden's remarks in Virginia when he told a crowd that Mitt Romney's regulatory policies would "put y'all back in chains."

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Republicans have been hammering Obama for not conducting a news conference with the White House press corps, and released a web video Friday mocking Obama's recent interview with a New Mexico radio station - an interview which included questions on food, music, and what superpower the president would most like to have.

Both Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, have granted interviews with local outlets in battleground states in their fight for the White House. They field questions from national news outlets with varying frequency.

Romney's most recent press conference with the national press corps was on Thursday in South Carolina. Obama last took questions from wire service reporters in mid-June at the G-20 conference in Mexico, while his last full press conference was in May at the NATO conference in Chicago.

On Sunday, Cutter told CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta that doing interviews with local outlets was as important as taking questions from national media.
"The president was talking to the reporters to the ground in Iowa. Do you think that is less important than talking to somebody like you? Everywhere that the president goes he is talking to reporters," Cutter said.

Romney's press conference on Thursday wasn't of any service to the public since his answers weren't truthful, Cutter said.

"Mitt Romney might have had two media availabilities, but what did he tell you in the media availabilities? He told you he would not release the taxes, because he was afraid of getting attacked, and spouted out lies about the president's plan. And is that media availability important if he is spouting lies and misstating the president's plan?" Cutter asked.

At Friday's White House briefing for reporters, deputy press secretary Josh Earnest was asked when the president's next press conference would be.

"The president has spent a lot of time answering questions from journalists all across the country," Earnest replied. "The president has spent a lot of time talking publicly about the issues he thinks are at stake in this election and are worthy of an important political debate about the future of the country. That is something he feels a responsibility to do."

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. NOT a Government Dependent

    Yes, asking Obama about what super power he'd like if he was a super hero was quite amusing. But they can't ask Obama about jobs and the economy because he's proven over the last 4 years he knows NOTHING about them. Record unemployment levels for a record length of time (post depression). I guess this will now be known as the Obama Job Depression.

    August 19, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. The REAL TRUTH...

    The Repugs REALLY are getting desparate. Children,lets try to focus on the issues and not worry about whom the POTUS is talking to. You wanted and started open season, so this is what you got. Put up, or move out the US !

    August 19, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. SafeJourney

    Mitt, where are those tax returns. This is not going away and will dog you until the election

    August 19, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Anonymous

    I don't know, GOPers. I'm thinking the country already knows Obama and have one way or another made up their mind about him.

    Most aren't so sure of that other guy and what he stands for, though.

    August 19, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. Phil Thomas

    Pathetic, these guys on the right fly their VP to meet the puppet master within five days of being named VP. What a joke, they give fox and The RNC radio every other day and fail even at that and then attack the president please . Sad that this is the best the RNC can do

    August 19, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. JOE

    Obama's pathetic. Ask him some serious questions. Journalist are pathetic. Are there any real journalist out there?

    August 19, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. Obama2012

    " But they can't ask Obama about jobs and the economy because he's proven over the last 4 years he knows NOTHING about them."

    Yes because this is the job of the DO NOTHING Tea Party Congress. Since they were elected in 2010 promising JOBS, not one single jobs bill has been submitted by this do nothing congress, except a plan to destroy medicare.

    August 19, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. jennifer in Houston

    The thought of the President communicating with the American public through all means possible... terrible, after all the middle class might learn something and the republicans would not like that. They need to keep us ignorant and glued to Fox.

    August 19, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. John

    Mitt the businessman says TRUST ME.........He really must think the American people are stupid.. Mitt release your tax returns.

    August 19, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. bob in arizona

    How the hell did Obama ever become our president?? Oh yea, he was elected by the overly politically correct – starstrucked – gullible – sheepish – intellectually challenged – non common sensed – American value ignoring – deserving minded – spoiled – prima donna people (who think reality shows are actually real) – of this nation. America hasn't only received two black eyes from this guy, were in the emergency room with missing limbs. At least with Romney, the media wont let him get away with B S the way Obama does.

    August 19, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. DarqueSide

    And if the president had called a news conference to discuss his policies, the GOP would criticize him for using the media for 'free campaign ad time'. GOP'ers, we're ON TO YOU!!! We've seen the Rove playbook over the past two elections and we've decided to give you some of your own medicine. I'm just surprised you guys didn't expect this and that you don't know how to play defense!

    August 19, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. Anonymous

    "Record unemployment levels for a record length of time (post depression). I guess this will now be known as the Obama Job Depression."

    No doubt you will be voting for your own Congressman/woman who has sat on his/her rump doing nothing just so you can come to CNN ticker complaining about Obama. Newflash: CONGRESS holds it in their power (or not) to implement law ... including jobs legislation ... not the President.

    Hey, John Boehner ... where are the jobs you promised to help Barack Obama create?

    August 19, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. CitizenAJ

    bob in arizona, the media does not let anybody get away with B.S. You are following the beliefs of republicans and their supporters that the media has been soft on the President and democrats. Absurded. They will report any story that is sensational because sensational stories, sell. Who would you prefer in the white house right now, John McCan and Sarah Palin? She couldn't complete one term as government of the third, least populated state. You wanted her one heart beat away from the Presidency?

    August 19, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. robb

    my issue with romney is this, yes he is succsesful , nothing wrong with that, we all want to succeed and be rich. But i make 36,000 a year, i pay 28 percent in taxes, that compared to 14.5 percent on 42 million over 2 years is the fair share the dems keep harping on. while rethuglicant's keep saying "you want to punish the job creators" for being rich, i say "you want to punish the working man" for not being rich. Well screw you, 28 percent of 42 million hurts a whole lot less than 28 percent of 36,000. That's where the fairness comes in. and until we have purportionate equality, i will never vote republican again in my life. You tricked me once with the shrub, and my 401k lost 35 percent of its value in 2 days thanks to his policies. I cant believe anyone not raking in 750,000 or better a year would support these clowns.

    August 19, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. TheTraveler

    'Thinking must be the hardest work there is. That's why you see so few people engaged in it." ~Henry Ford

    Personally, I applaud the President in having communications through as many media channels as he can. It helps to shape public opinion because each and every media channel has it's own bias and slant on the issues. I'd much rather form my own opinions using as many informational sources as I can rather than rely on one or two major sources ....

    I think the Republicans are simply continuing the pettiness and vitriolic rhetoric that they've show a propensity for already in this election year.

    August 19, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. ronjayaz

    I guess it's strategic but Y is the President so reluctant? I think the President looks tired and fatigued. He is overworked. And Tryin Ryan is a real testosterone boost to the ticket. Rmoney was failing ingloriously. But the public go after this infatuation with Ayn Ran:" A government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims." I guess she never herd of our 2nd Amendment? Let's not forget she was born into Communism & was an atheist..

    August 19, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  17. Big E

    The sad thing is that Cutter is probably right when she says that ET and People is where a lot of Americans get their news. Who needs newspapers and hard-hitting journalists when there are outlets that can get you the scoop on the latest Kardashian haircut, a self-quiz on whether you are compatible with your pet, and the favorite color of the Presidential candidates. Personally I'm voting for the one who says Purple because I think it's a cool color and maybe they'll paint the White House purple, that'd be way cool. [sarcasm off]

    August 19, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. SurRy

    "The sad thing is that Cutter is probably right when she says that ET and People is where a lot of Americans get their news. "

    Even sadder that most get from Fox Entertainment Network.

    August 19, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    "my issue with romney is this, yes he is succsesful , nothing wrong with that, we all want to succeed and be rich. But i make 36,000 a year, i pay 28 percent in taxes"
    ------
    IF you are indeed making $36,000 a year, here's the numbers. You are given a personal exemption of approximately $10,000. Your minimun standard deduction is $7,800. Without ANY other considerations, meaning filing single (the highest bracket), your taxable income is $18,200, putting you in the 10% bracket, or $1,820. Your effective rate is therefore just over 5%.

    IF you are paying more, a good tax preparer should help you immensely.

    August 19, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. uncdig

    Obama really is out of touch with America if he & his puppeteers think that real America gets their news from ET & People. I guess that was his thinking behind having biden as his side kick – I mean VP. I really think that Obama wants to be the next johnny carson, dave leno or conan when he gets out of office after november. He's already built most of the comedy division. When will he learn that he is suppose to be the leader of this great nation & act like a leader.

    August 19, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. Four and The Door

    "The president has spent a lot of time answering questions from journalists all across the country," Earnest replied. "The president has spent a lot of time talking publicly about the issues he thinks are at stake in this election and are worthy of an important political debate about the future of the country. That is something he feels a responsibility to do."
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Obama thinks tax returns are worthy of an important political debate about the future of the country? No. Americans want to hear about jobs, the economy, excessive national debt and what Obama & Biden have been doing since 2009 when these were the same issues. Obama's priorities after the 2008 election didn't match his campaign at all. The good news here is that if Obama got elected again you could expect him to stop whining about tax returns.

    August 19, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. anthony76

    uh oh.. Republicans scared normal Americans are going to actually get some factual information.

    August 19, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. fernace

    Yes, it is a disgrace that the President walks & talks w/the people he leads! You'll never find Romney doing something so gauche! He knows his station & it's faaaar Above any of us peons he's deining to "lead"! You heard his wife! Anne says: "You people get No more tax returns! Let them eat cake!" Thanks, Mr President for being a man of the people, for the people! Many of us realize Romney is a man of the $$, for the $$! And there's a vast perspective difference between those 2 diciplines! Not all of us are trying to be multimillionaires, we're just trying to live well in every aspect & hand a bright future over to our kids! Can you help us w/that, Romney/Ryan? Or are you just focused on how to make USA into a utopia for the Rich!! Obama-2012!

    August 19, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    "Obama thinks tax returns are worthy of an important political debate about the future of the country?"

    Are you suggesting that taxes are not an important political debate about the future of the country?

    August 19, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. B.

    Both Romney and Ryan have lied to the press while looking them in the eye.

    Romney lied about his residency and taxes during his move to become Massachusetts Governor.

    Ryan lied right off the starting line about the Stimulus Bill, voting against it and telling all that it was wrong and wouldn’t work.
    Then wrote a letter REQUESTING STIMULUS FUNDS and then telling all how many jobs it would create !

    They are both liars and hypocrites and are not to be trusted to tell the truth.

    Truth does Matter.

    August 19, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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