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Gibbs says Obama’s Sunday talk show blitz not game changer

By Dave Cook / September 18, 2009



When President Obama blitzes the major Sunday public affairs TV talk shows this weekend, appearing on five of them, the interviews will not be “a game changing moment” in the healthcare debate, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said at Friday’s White House briefing.

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The interviews are being taped at the White House Friday afternoon with anchors from ABC,CBS, NBC, CNN, and Univision each having time with the president. The Fox News Channel, with a reputation of being more conservative, was not on the list of those granted a session with Mr. Obama. "I don’t think we will look back at a series of interviews as a game changing moment," Gibbs said.

On Monday, the President will be in New York for meetings at the United Nations and during the visit will appear on David Letterman’s “Late Show.” It will be the first appearance by a sitting president on the Letterman program.

Gibbs laughingly dismissed questions from reporters about whether the President will be over-exposed during his push for healthcare reform. The spokesman noted the irony that reporters posing that line of questioning work for outlets that have requested their own sessions with Mr. Obama.

“I have done this before. I am hesitant to look at every moment in every debate as some massive inflection point,” Gibbs said.

While not predicting a game changing outcome from the Sunday talk show appearances, Gibbs thinks the programs are an important way to sell the President’s health insurance reform plans. “Obviously I have some say in what the president does for media,” Gibbs said with considerable understatement.

The White House media strategy is geared to the explosion of information outlets, Gibbs said. “People are getting their news from so many different places, so many different outlets that we are going to use the president to communicate through that fragmentation.”

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