White House Grants Special Access to Local Journalists

President, staffers to give red-carpet treatment to local news outlets

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The power of incumbency will be on display today as President Obama hosts nine local television anchors and a representative from the Hearst television network for a special media blitz at the White House.

The goal is to pitch Obama's $447 billion jobs bill, which is stalled in Congress but which Obama is trying to pass in sections.

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To promote this agenda, Obama will give each journalist a brief interview but the access won't stop there. The media visitors are scheduled to talk with cabinet secretaries and have lunch with senor White House adviser David Plouffe. They also will have the opportunity to ask press secretary Jay Carney questions at his daily briefing; tour part of the White House, and interview a staffer from the TV station's home market. At the end of the day, the stations and the network will broadcast live from the South Lawn.

This kind of access is unusual but it reflects the high priority that the White House places in arguing its case for the jobs bill. Administration officials point out that most Americans favor several of Obama's basic economic proposals, including higher taxes on the rich and on big corporations, according to the polls.

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Most of the TV stations are in swing states that will be crucial to Obama's re-election next year. Some are in areas where the legislators may be wavering in support for Obama's proposals. In addition to Hearst, the stations that will receive the special access are WAVY in Portsmouth, Virginia; WTVT in Tampa, Florida; KTRK, Houston, Texas; KETV, Omaha, Nebraska; WCCO, Minneapolis, Minnesota; WPVI, Philadelphia; KUSA, Denver; KSAZ, Phoenix, and KGW, Portland, Oregon, according to White House officials.

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