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VIDEO: McCain Evades National Press in Favor of Locals

DETROIT — Following the town hall meeting today at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Mich., Sen. John McCain held his second press conference in as many days. Yesterday, McCain took questions from the national press corps in Grand Haven, Mich. I wrote Wednesday that McCain had given just one press conference in 11 days — which seemed to confirm the suspicions of traveling reporters that the McCain campaign is limiting the access of the national press to the candidate. Lately, McCain has been giving daily "audibles," as his staff calls them, in which he takes a few questions from a small pool of reporters. The effect is shorter — and less risky — interactions with the media, and the questions cover a smaller range of issues than if the full press corps were present.

Now, with two conferences in two days, does that change the picture? Not really. During today’s presser, McCain took just one question from the national traveling press — from Nick Riccardi of The Los Angeles Times — and the remainder of the questions came from local reporters. So McCain has been averaging about one press conference per week with the national media for the last few weeks — a sharp decline from past months.

The upside? It just so happens that two of those local journalists were from our sister site, the Michigan Messenger. Alexa Stanard and Minni Forman asked back-to-back questions of the presumptive Republican nominee, on stem cell research and Al Gore’s recent comments on the future of America’s energy supply, respectively. Other topics covered included: the auto industry’s reaction to McCain’s assertion today that he supports the right of states to set their own fuel efficiency standards — they don’t like it — and Sen. Barack Obama’s upcoming overseas trip. Here’s the video of the press conference. Note the chuckles from the press corps at the end, as McCain’s Press Secretary Brooke Buchanan shuts it down.

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