Two of the reporters were from Norfolk, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida, both presidential battleground states. The third was from San Diego.
The reporters mostly made no effort to hide the arrangement. “The president invited me to talk about sequestration,” NBC 7 San Diego’s reporter told her audience. In the interview, she set Obama up with a perfectly pitched softball the president couldn’t have been more eager to take a swing at:
“What do you want individual San Diegans to know about sequestration?” she asked.
Donna Deegan of FCN Jacksonville initially seemed to apologize for not broaching the appointed subject right away.
“Mr. President, I know we were asked to talk about sequestration today,” she said, but then added she wanted to talk about something else first. Finally, she got to it:
“Let’s talk a little bit about sequestration, because I know that’s why you invited us here,” she said.
Obama used an interview with WVEC Norfolk to specifically bash Republicans.
“The only thing that’s standing in the way of us getting this done right now is the unwillingess on the part of some members of Congress, and folks in in the Republican Party, to give up on some tax breaks for people like me who don’t need them,” he said.
The reporters were able to ask about other topics. But with their face time with the president limited to under ten minutes, and Obama well rehearsed to discuss at length his favored topic, there was little room for much else to come up.