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Obama turns to local media

world Updated: Mar 28, 2011 23:55 IST
The Washington Post

Ever since he quit smoking, President Obama has been staving off nicotine cravings by reaching for celery sticks. He thinks Americans who help Mexican drug cartels should be "thrown in jail." And he has an open invitation to enjoy lemon martinis in Miami.

These are just a few of the exclusive news nuggets to emerge from the White House in recent days.

The new details were not disclosed by the White House reporters tracking Obama's every move and word.

Instead, as Obama keeps the White House press corps at a distance, he has sat for more than a dozen interviews with their colleagues from local TV stations - with unpredictable and sometimes illuminating results.

One Miami reporter Obama recently invited to the White House was still so nervous when the interview was over that she stood to leave before removing the wired microphone from her lapel. Obama called out to stop her. "We don't want a wardrobe malfunction," he said.

An anchor from the ABC affiliate in Cincinnati swiped paper towels embossed with the presidential seal from a White House bathroom, "just to prove that I really was there."

Obama has made such encounters with local news stations a staple of his communications strategy. The interviews have allowed Obama a chance to show his lighter side.

(In association with The Washington Post. For additional content from The Washington Post, visit www.washingtonpost.com )