In defending his proposed budget against Republican Congressional criticism, President Obama used a time-tested strategy - he took the fight to their backyards.
By inviting local reporters from Cincinnati, Richmond and Milwaukee to the White House Map Room this week for 10-minute interviews, the president combated arguments by House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan on their home turfs without leaving his own.
Obama spoke about national issues during all three interviews and state-specific issues with the reporters from Richmond and Milwaukee, mentioning both Ryan and Cantor by name when prompted. The Richmond and Milwaukee stations WWBT and WTMJ are both NBC affiliates; Cincinnati's WCPO is an ABC affiliate.
"Well, look, I think Congressman Ryan is going to have the opportunity to work with me to solve these problems," Obama said to WTMJ's Charles Benson as he discussed spending cuts. Obama later added, "(Ryan) hasn't been too specific so far in terms of exactly what he'd like to see done."
When told by WWBT's Ryan Nobles that he appears to have an "icy" relationship with Cantor, Obama replied, "I don't think it's icy. Look, Eric Cantor is a Republican leader in the House. ... He's now in a position of responsibility."
The president also discussed his disagreements with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on high-speed rail and collective bargaining rights for public employees and how he would support a Senate candidacy by Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine in Virginia.
The interviews also supplied an extra advantage for in 2012 - all three leaders hail from critical battleground states for the president's re-election.
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