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Obama Talks Sequester With Local Media Outlets

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Both the Virginia newspaper and TV station spoke with Obama about a former Navy SEAL who has been critical of the administration releasing too many details about the raid that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALS in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Obama dismissed those concerns, telling WVEC that some have criticized him for being too aggressive in cracking down on leakers. Under Obama, the Justice Department has used the 1917 Espionage Act to try to prosecute those involved in leaking classified information.

"I don't take these folks too seriously. One of their members is a birther who denies I was born here, despite evidence to the contrary. You've got another who was a tea party candidate in a recent election," he told the newspaper.

Obama made an appearance in the White House press briefing room Monday afternoon to defend changes to Medicare and tout benefits of the Affordable Care Act for seniors. Republicans have pledged, and voted numerous times this Congress, to repeal the health care law.

The president then answered a few questions from reporters on topics ranging from campaign advertising to Syria.

Obama has been criticized and mocked for granting interviews primarily to local and entertainment media outlets, including Entertainment Tonight and People magazine, but those publications can reach different audiences from traditional Washington insider publications and the Sunday morning talk shows.

Asked by CNN whether Obama's re-election campaign viewed entertainment media as "more important" than the Washington press corps, deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said the campaign gave the different mediums equal weight.

"I don't think that they're more important, but I think they are equally important. I think that's where ... a lot of Americans get their news. And I think the president is going to continue doing that," Cutter said Sunday.

Cutter also stressed that Obama talks to local reporters on the campaign trail.

"The president was talking to reporters on the ground in Iowa. Do you think that that is less important than talking to somebody like you?" Cutter said. "Everywhere that the president goes he is talking to reporters."


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