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White House to hold media day for local TV

By Darlene Superville
Associated Press / October 31, 2011

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WASHINGTON—The White House is giving nine local TV stations and the Hearst Television network a day of special, behind-the-scenes access Tuesday, including on-air time with President Barack Obama to talk up his $447 billion jobs bill and how the stalled plan would benefit their communities.

"Live at the White House" presents Obama with another opportunity to try to rally public support for the proposal, which got an unwelcome reception on Capitol Hill. Senate Republicans blocked action on the bill over objections to the president's call for more direct federal spending and a new tax on millionaires to help pay for it.

Obama spent the past seven weeks pitching different parts of the bill in his travels across the country, and he has vowed to keep pressing lawmakers to pass its components. He also has been urging members of the public who support him to convey that message to their elected representatives in Washington. Media day is another way the White House hopes to spread Obama's message.

The highlight of the day will be the brief interviews each news anchor will conduct with Obama. Besides interviewing the president, the anchors will get to discuss the bill with the Cabinet secretaries who oversee education, homeland security, housing and transportation.

The White House also has arranged special access for the anchors, including a chance to ask press secretary Jay Carney a question at his daily briefing, lunch with senior adviser David Plouffe, an interview with a White House staffer from their home market, an on-camera tour of the State Floor of the White House and a tour of Michelle Obama's garden on the South Lawn with assistant chef Sam Kass.

The anchors will close the day by broadcasting the evening news live from the South Lawn.

The stations are: KGW, Portland, Ore.; KSAZ, Phoenix; KUSA, Denver; WCCO, Minneapolis; KTRK, Houston; KETV, Omaha, Neb.; WTVT, Tampa, Fla.; WAVY, Hampton Roads, Va.; and WPVI, Philadelphia.

Hearst Television Inc., which owns 29 television stations across the country, will join in also.