President Barack Obama is sticking to the easy stuff, when it comes to questions from the media. Guaranteeing he will not be asked about high unemployment, the economy, Syria, Afghanistan, Vice President Joe Biden’s gaffes, or even possibly dropping Joe Biden from the ticket, the Obama campaign is booking Obama on morning “zoo” radio shows, Entertainment Tonight, and People Magazine.
Republicans are pointing to press briefings Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has made himself available at as opposed to Obama’s availability. In fact, the video above, made by the Republican National Committee, is an example of questions Obama is answering lately.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs why President Obama failed to release documents the House Oversight Committee subpoeneaed relating to the failed DOJ operation known s Fast and Furious and why he has only spoken to the White House press corps this year once back in March:
WALLACE: If the president is so interested in transparency, as you indicate, why is it that he has not — he’s held one news conference at the White House this year and that was back in March, more than five months ago? And why is it that he refused to release documents to Congress and invoked executive privilege on Operation Fast and Furious?
GIBBS: Well, let’s talk about, I — the situation of interviewing the president. The president, let me just give you some statistics. I wrote them down so I wouldn’t get them wrong. In the month of August, 19 days into August, the president has done 13 local TV interviews.
WALLACE: Yes, that includes “Entertainment Tonight” and being asked what his favorite song — workout song was.
GIBBS: Do I get to answer the questions, too?
WALLACE: Were that not some of the interviews?
GIBBS: Eleven radio interviews and five roundtable interviews with 15 journalists.
WALLACE: Why not sit down with the White House press corps?
GIBBS: Look, I think the president — and the president did take a question from the White House press corps regarding the shooting that happened in Wisconsin.
WALLACE: A question?
GIBBS: Look, Chris, I think the White House press corps spend a little bit of time in the press room. The White House press corps has good questions, so do local TV stations in Ohio and in Colorado, in Iowa, who regularly get to ask the president question. The notion that this president is somehow not doing interviews is ridiculous. Not long ago, we were answering questions and charges that somehow Obama was over-exposed.
WALLACE: We are looking for his interview on “Fox News Sunday.
Other Obama campaign spokespeople responded similarly to why President Obama is reserving his interviews for local TV and radio hosts and is avoiding Washington D.C. reporters. Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter said to host Jim Acosta on CNN’s State of the Union, “You know, the president was talking to reporters on the ground in Iowa. Do you think that they’re less important than talking to somebody like you?”
In fact, Cutter defended the president’s doing softer interviews with People Magazine and Entertainment Tonight as equally important to answering questions from the White House press pool in the briefing room.
“I don’t think that they’re [Entertainment Tonight & People Magazine] more important. But I think they’re equally important,” Cutter said. “I think that’s where a lot of Americans get their news. And I think the president’s going to continue doing that.”
What kind of questions is President Obama answering these days then? The L.A. Times noted Mr. Obama is telling voters he, “likes his chile red. He likes working out to Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love,” but has yet to hear “Call Me Maybe.” And if he could have one superpower, it would be the ability to speak any language.”