Interviews with People magazine and Entertainment Tonight are just as important as sit-downs with national news media, President Barack Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said Sunday.
"Not more important, but equally important, and that is where a lot of Americans get their news," Cutter said on CNN's "State of the Union." Obama answered questions from both People and ET this week, and while the questioning included some softballs, both interviews probed Obama about Vice President Joe Biden's remarks in Virginia when he told a crowd that Mitt Romney's regulatory policies would "put y'all back in chains."
Republicans have been hammering Obama for not conducting a news conference with the White House press corps, and released a web video Friday mocking Obama's recent interview with a New Mexico radio station -- an interview which included questions on food, music, and what superpower the president would most like to have.
Both Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, have granted interviews with local outlets in battleground states in their fight for the White House. They field questions from national news outlets with varying frequency.
Romney's most recent press conference with the national press corps was on Thursday in South Carolina. Obama last took questions from wire service reporters in mid-June at the G-20 conference in Mexico, while his last full press conference was in May at the NATO conference in Chicago.
On Sunday, Cutter told CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta that doing interviews with local outlets was as important as taking questions from national media.
"The president was talking to the reporters to the ground in Iowa. Do you think that is less important than talking to somebody like you? Everywhere that the president goes he is talking to reporters," Cutter said.
Romney's press conference on Thursday wasn't of any service to the public since his answers weren't truthful, Cutter said.
"Mitt Romney might have had two media availabilities, but what did he tell you in the media availabilities? He told you he would not release the taxes, because he was afraid of getting attacked, and spouted out lies about the president's plan. And is that media availability important if he is spouting lies and misstating the president's plan?" Cutter asked.
At Friday's White House briefing for reporters, deputy press secretary Josh Earnest was asked when the president's next press conference would be.
"The president has spent a lot of time answering questions from journalists all across the country," Earnest replied. "The president has spent a lot of time talking publicly about the issues he thinks are at stake in this election and are worthy of an important political debate about the future of the country. That is something he feels a responsibility to do."