“I just flirted with the president of the United States of America!” a New Mexico radio anchor gushed Friday.
Thus concluded President Obama’s interview with 93.3 KOBFM for its “Morning Mayhem” program. Other topics discussed included the song “Call Me Maybe,” whether Obama prefers red or green chiles and his favorite superpower (he said he wanted to understand all languages).
There’s nothing new about a presidential candidate going on a wacky local radio program in a swing state, but Republicans pounced on the interview as the latest example of Obama giving exclusives to unconventional outlets while shunning harder news reporters. Romney spokesman Ryan Williams mocked it as a “joke” on Twitter.
In recent days Obama has spoken to a sports radio show, People magazine and “Entertainment Tonight.” White House reporters are grumbling about his choice of outlets given that he hasn’t held a press conference since June, when he was traveling abroad.
Romney has faced intense criticism in the past for avoiding the traveling press and sticking to friendly outlets like FOX News and conservative radio, a source of tension that came to a head when a Romney aide told reporters shouting questions to “kiss my ass” and shove it” late last month. But he’s tried to repair relations in recent weeks by taking at least some questions, including speaking to reporters on a Miami tarmac this week and at a news conference on Thursday in which he used a whiteboard to describe his position on Medicare.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.