Thursday, April 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Air Obama

Obama's re-elect starts with local TV.

Air Obama

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: I just love this story that was posted Sunday night and ran in yesterday's Washington Post. I think it's the official kick-off of President Obama's reelection campaign.

BE: A fundraising story, no doubt.

JB: Wrong, oh wise one. It's a story about how the White House is inviting local TV stations in key electoral states to come to interview the president one-on-one in, you guessed it, the White House.

BE: Quite a coup for the local stations.

JB: Which means guaranteed big play on local TV, which means the local anchor snags an exclusive, which means the local station can promote its importance and which usually means the questions will be prettty tame and make the president look good.

BE: A win/win softball game for all involved.

JB: You betcha. His aides picked more than a dozen stations in key markets. starting in  December. Each interviewer gets seven minutes. And the states picked? Big, important electoral-vote states such as Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and, of course, Pennsylvania.

BE: Smart.

JB: And with important results. One interviewer learned that Obama chews celery sticks to replace his (allegedly) given-up cigarette jones. Another invited him to her home in Miami to make him a lemon martini.

BE: So these interviews aren't exactly pushing the Prez too hard.

JB: They allow Obama to tee-up Republican Guvs. He tagged Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's "assault" on public unions. He called Florida Gov. Rick Scott "wrong" for eschewing federal money for high-speed rail. And he said our own state lawmakers should be leary about Gov. Corbett's education cuts.

BE: A free political ride for the O-man.

JB: With one notable exception. Philly's WPVI-TV anchor Jim Gardner ignored pre-interview cautions regarding questions about Libya and hit the commander-in-chief right off the bat with a question about our involvement there.

BE: Good for Jim. A newsman who won't let anyone else dictate what's news. How'd that go over?

JB: Like a bunch of soggy celery sticks. A sour-pussed Obama said, "As we already mentioned to you, I'm not going to comment beyond the statement that I made today."

BE: Bada-bing!

JB: Yeah, but credit Gardner for having the stones to fling at Goliath.

BE: Hope he enjoyed his last interview with the Prez.

JB: These weren't interviews. They were campaign ads. GRRRR.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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