President Obama’s media strategy of granting one-on-one interviews with local TV news stations in battleground states backfired Thursday when a reporter grilled him about “jetting around” on Air Force One and another pressed him to respond to a Democratic strategist’s disparaging remarks about Ann Romney’s choice to be a full-time mother.
During an interview with St. Louis’s KMOV, the interviewer, Larry Conners, demanded to know why the first family was “jetting around, [taking] different vacations and so forth, sometimes … under the color of state business” when most Americans are still suffering through a bad economy.
Mr. Conners said folks “get frustrated, even angered” seeing the president take these trips, and said these Americans think Mr. Obama is “out of touch, that [Obama doesn’t] really know what they’re experiencing right now.”
Thrown off his agenda of trying to sell the so-called “Buffett rule” — the concept that millionaires should pay more in taxes — to swing-state voters, Mr. Obama bristled.
“Well, I don’t know how many viewers you’re talking about that say that,” he said.
“We do hear from some,” Mr. Conners replied.
The president then inexplicably defended himself by saying “I’m raising a family here” before going on to say he has no choice but to fly on Air Force One.
“When we travel, we got to travel through Secret Service, and Air Force One — that’s not my choice. I think most folks understand how hard I work and how hard this administration is working on behalf of the American people.”
An ABC News affiliate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, asked what he thought of comments from Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen when she criticized Ann Romney, wife of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, for not working “a day in her life” even though she raised five sons.
“There’s no tougher job than being a mom,” Mr. Obama said. “When I think about what Michelle had to do, when I think about my own mom, a single mom who raised me and my sister — that’s work. Anyone who would argue otherwise probably needs to rethink their statement. More broadly, I don’t have a lot of patience for commentary about spouses of political candidates.”