With 2012 Election Looming, President Again Welcomes Local Reporters to White House

By Andrew Gauthier 

In what appears to be an ongoing strategy to reach local viewers as the 2012 election looms on the horizon, President Obama sat down with reporters from three local stations last Friday, moments after he delivered a statement announcing military action in Libya.

Following a similar arrangement last month in which reporters from Milwaukee’s WTMJ, Richmond’s WWBT, and Cincinnati’s WCPO were invited to the White House for one-on-one interviews with the President, crews from Charlotte’s WSOC, Philadelphia’s WPVI, and Miami’s WSVN headed to D.C. last week to speak with Obama.


The one-on-one interviews are an opportunity for local journalists to ask the President about issues directly related to their communities, while also perhaps giving Obama, who has faced criticism in the last several days over his handling of U.S. intervention in Libya, a reprieve from the regular hammering he receives from the national media.

On Friday, Obama sat down with WSOC anchor Natalie Pasquarella, WSVN anchor Lynn Martinez, and WPVI’s Jim Gardner, who has interviewed every president since 1976.

The interview was especially timely for WSOC’s Pasquarella since it was recently announced that the Democratic National Convention would be held in Charlotte.

“As soon as it was announced Charlotte won the bid to host the DNC, several reporters at our station starting planning for setting up White House interviews,” Pasquarella told TVSpy via email. “Last week, we found out two days before the interview with the President, that we’d have the opportunity to conduct an interview.  My photographer and I flew out on Thursday, and I interviewed the President around 3:00p.m. Friday.”

“I took this opportunity to talk about a huge event for Charlotte, the 2012 Democratic National Convention.”

In her interview, Obama told Pasquarella that a big reason Charlotte was chosen for the event is because “it’s just a great city.”

Of all three interviewers, Gardner focused the most on issues beyond his local community. At the start of WPVI’s interview, Gardner pressed the President on the planned military action in Libya. Obama bluntly deflected Gardner’s questioning, saying that he would let his statement, delivered moments earlier, “stand on its own.”

For her part, Martinez appeared to be the most chummy with the President. At the end of her interview, in which she touched on the economic relationship between South Florida and Latin America, Martinez invited Obama over to her house for a cocktail during his next trip to Miami.

“I make a mean lemon martini,” Martinez told the President.

Here’s Gardner’s interview:

Pasquarella’s interview can be viewed here, and Martinez’s here.

[Above photo courtesy of the White House]