President Obama continued his weekly interviews with local television stations, welcoming to the White House Map Room reporters from Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Hampton Roads, Va., on Tuesday for individual seven-minute sessions.
The president used the interviews to push his proposals to reduce the deficit and fight high gas prices. He broke little new ground in his remarks on either issue.
The questions, though, were dominated by the economy, as the television reporters told the president about people in their regions who had lost jobs or run out of unemployment benefits. Obama defended his performance in improving the job market, but acknowledged that many Americans still can’t find jobs as unemployment is at 8.8 percent.
“The trends are good, but it’s just not happening fast enough,” he told WTKR in Hampton Roads. He added, for people out of work, “the only unemployment news you want to hear is you’ve got a job.”
The interviews are part of a broader White House effort to reach voters in key states outside of traditional news outlets. Virginia, Ohio and Michigan are all traditional swing states for presidential elections, while Democrats would like to add Georgia to their column, althought it leans Republican.