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Biden goes local in effort to get around national media

President Biden is seeking to find ways to lure swing state voters without just relying on the national media.

And increasingly, he’s going local.

Biden and his top aides say the road to reelection isn’t only through the national television and print outlets, where many of the viewers and readers are familiar with his record. 

As they begin the general election, a core part of their media strategy will be done at the local level, especially in an effort to move the ball forward with critical swing voters.

It’s a strategy Biden advisers say was effective during the 2020 cycle and they’re doubling down on the tack in their reelection effort. 

During recent stops in key states including Wisconsin and North Carolina, the Biden campaign has made it a point to spend time with local outlets. And in the coming months they will spend more time on the ground with local press and so-called “influencers” in swing state communities, as they did recently in recent campaign stops in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. 

“It’s always helpful when the president can speak to a community specifically about his accomplishments without all the noise,” said one longtime Biden aide. “It’s more effective…than sitting down with a network where many of the voters are already going to vote for you anyway.” 

Earlier this month, Biden did sit down for an interview with MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart.

But he has gone months throughout his administration without holding an interview with the national press, and he has taken heat from the White House press corps at times for not holding more press conferences. 

Those close to him say he enjoys doing local interviews where reporters will ask him about news in their communities and not the 30,000 foot question-of-the day or his views on the latest polling in the general election. 

By focusing on local outreach, “You get more bang for your buck,” the longtime aide said. 

Democratic strategist Fernand Amandi argued it represents a smart strategy, saying “the juice is worth the squeeze,” in key states.

More importantly, he added, it gives Biden an advantage over presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. The former president is facing a litany of legal challenges and can’t effectively do scores of local interviews with his schedule.

“He doesn’t have the time,” Amandi said. 

A Trump aide, however, maintained that the former president has done local interviews, including during the Republican primary in New Hampshire and South Carolina. 

“President Trump is more accessible to the press and the American people than Broken Biden, whose staff doesn’t allow him to take interviews or answer questions because they are terrified of his failed presidency, disastrous policies, and declining cognitive abilities,” said Danielle Alvarez, a Trump spokesperson. 

To date, Trump has taken a less targeted approach when it comes to speaking to voters in swing states. 

The former president has done a hodgepodge of radio and podcast interviews this month including one with Sebastian Gorka, who served in his administration, and separately spoke to WABC, the New York affiliate, where he faces a criminal trial set to begin next month over alleged hush money payments. 

Trump also spoke to Howard Kurtz on Fox News earlier this month.  

But even Republican acknowledge there doesn’t seem to be a concerted effort to speak to voters in swing states. 

“There’s been very little of that,” one Republican strategist said of the local media outreach. “And while I think Trump can get his message across to voters better than Biden can, they need to do a better job of hitting those local targets. It could make all the difference.” 

In recent weeks, Biden taped two radio interviews in Milwaukee and also sat for two interviews in North Carolina ahead of Super Tuesday.

“The voters who will decide this election are behind President Biden’s work to lower costs for families and create jobs – and they’re fundamentally opposed to Donald Trump’s plan to ban abortion and cut Social Security and Medicare,” said Josh Marcus-Blank, who serves as the states communications director for the Biden campaign. 

And even when Biden isn’t visiting one of the key states, his advisers and surrogates are being deployed on their own messaging tours. 

On Tuesday, Mitch Landrieu, the former New Orleans mayor who serves as co-chair of Biden’s campaign, spent time in Wisconsin for a “Trump failed, Biden Delivered” messaging tour.

While in the swing state, he met with local mayors and business leaders, He also sat down with several local media outlets reaching communities throughout Northern Wisconsin, Madison and Milwaukee. 

“In a state where 10,000 votes can make a difference, it’s a sound outreach strategy,” Amandi said. 

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