UPDATE: WYFF-TV Interview Creates Political Headwinds Back Home
President speaks of helping small businesses in rural areas and overcoming Congressional gridlock to help the American people.
Updated, Monday, June 11, 7:30 p.m.
WYFF's exclusive interview with President Obama has begun to air, and Anchor Michael Cogdill acknowledged the political scuffle that news of his talk with the president had created back home.
The exclusive interviewwith President Obama drew fire even before it aired.
News 4 Anchor Michael Cogdill's interview with the president was set to air at 5 p.m., but State Republican Party Chairman Chad Connelly says the president is using the interview to hide from having to answer to South Carolina voters personally.
“While giving the appearance that he wishes to answer questions about his failed policies from South Carolinians, Barack Obama chose a television station where he can reach voters in western North Carolina,” Connelly said.
Obama spoke of putting “millions of dollars into small businesses in rural ommunities,” including clean energy projects and food processing initiatives.
He said that program has actually exceeded its original goals.
“It's a big opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses to locate and to take roots in these smaller communities,” Obama said. “It can help relieve unemployment and build on the success of the farm economy.”
Obama spoke with Cogdill about how helping rural communities and the auto industry “adds up,” helping to create a “robust economy, and a economy that's built to last.”
“Not just built on financial speculation, not just built on a housing bubble,” he said.
Connelly said the president is trying to “pull the wool over the eyes of South Carolinians and speak to western North Carolina voters without setting foot in either state.”
State Republicans believe the president should come to South Carolina to “explain his failed jobs record and answer questions about his government take over of healthcare,” according to a release sent out by State Republican Party Executive Director Matt Moore.
"South Carolina voters know that neither our national economy nor this President are 'doing fine,'” Connelly said. “And come November, hundreds of volunteers from the South Carolina Republican Party will work to ensure that North Carolina voters know this as well."
Amanda Loveday, Executive Director of the South Carolina Democratic Party, said that appearing on WYFF 4 gives the president a great chance to reach a large number of people at once.
“The president is one person and can't be in 50 different states at once,” Loveday said. “It's a great way for him to reach as many people as he can at one time.”
The appearance on a station that covers both North and South Carolina at once gives President Obama a chance to reach “two different states in two different situations,” Loveday said.
“The North Carolina Governor is helping them to build jobs and helping them put people back to work,” Loveday said. “The South Carolina Governor cares more about her personal celebrity than helping the people of South Carolina."
In his introduction to the interview, Cogdill mentioned “the political headwinds” that news of his interview with the president had created back home, and President Obama spoke on the gridlock between Republicans and Democrats and the chambers of Congress.
“I think one of the things that the American people want everyone in Congress to remember is 'You are not a Democrat or a Republican first; you're an American first,'” Obama said. “We need to be focused on problem-solving.”
He said that gridlock is impeding progress.
“For example, right now everybody agrees on extending the tax credits for producing clean energy, that it's been producing tens of thousands of jobs across the country, yet somehow the bill hasn't passed,” Obama said. “Well, go ahead and get stuff done for the American people. That's what we need to do.”
WYFF 4's interview with the president will continue tonight and Tuesday.