Ahead of next year's presidential election, the White House has launched a concerted effort to leap over national media and reach out to local journalists in hopes of receiving more favorable coverage.
But that effort may have backfired a bit yesterday, when President Obama was caught on camera testily reprimanding a Texas reporter for apparently not giving him sufficient time to answer questions.
"Let me finish my answers the next time we do an interview, all right?" Obama told Brad Watson, a reporter with Belo TV, which owns several Texas TV stations including Dallas's WFAA and San Antonio's KENS.
The interview, one of four Obama conducted with local TV reporters Monday, had already been a bit heated by that moment.
"Why do you think you're so unpopular in Texas?" Watson asked Obama, at one point.
The president replied by acknowledging that Texas had long been a "pretty Republican state," but he implied that the politics there were changing, adding that he'd only lost by a "few percentage points" in 2008.
But that statement, as Watson noted, wasn't exactly true. Obama actually lost Texas to John McCain by 11 points during the last campaign--as the reporter pointed out.
"If what you are telling me is Texas is a conservative state, you're absolutely right," Obama replied, unsmiling.
You can watch the full interview here:
The interview went down from there, as Watson pressed Obama on a major local issue in Texas: NASA's decision not to locate one of the retiring Space Shuttle fleet in the state. "The White House has nothing to do with it," Obama insisted.
When Watson suggested the Obama administration had sent the orbitors to states pivotal to his re-election, the president became visibly irritated. "I just said that was wrong," he said. "I just said that wasn't true."
As for his re-election, Obama insisted he plans to campaign in Texas.
"I never write off any states," Obama declared. "I love Texas."
(Screenshot of Obama courtesy WFAA)