Obama talks Keystone XL pipeline, rail safety in interview with Fargo TV anchor


A North Dakota television station broadcast President Barack Obama's thoughts about key issues for the region, including the Keystone XL pipeline and rail safety.

Obama was interviewed at the White House Thursday by WDAY anchor Kerstin Kealy. The Fargo Forum noted it was one of four brief one-on-ones that the President did with local television news crews from around the country.

Click here to watch the full interview.

“Part of the reason North Dakota has done so well is that we have been very much promoting domestic, U.S. energies,” the president said in response to Kealy's question about why he vetoed the Keystone bill. “I’ve already said I’m happy to look at how we can increase pipeline production for U.S. oil, but Keystone is for Canadian oil to send that down to the Gulf.

Kealy also asked the president if railroad safety is an administration priority.

“It is,” he said. “We’ve had the Department of Transportation work very closely with both workers, with environmental groups and with the railways to start thinking, how do we upgrade transportation safety when it comes to these big rail cars with potentially hazardous cargo? I think we can do a better job on it.”

WDAY was given four minutes to interview the president, but Kealy wound up with a little over six minutes with Obama. She also got a chance to meet the Obamas' dogs.

In an analysis before the WDAY interview, Forum News said sitting for local interviews has become a common practice from occupants of the White House.

“Since there’s been local media, presidents have tried to access local media,” said Mark Jendrysik, professor of political science at the University of North Dakota.

He called the interviews with local TV stations a way to “bypass the large, Washington, D.C.-based media filter and talk directly to the people.”

The story cited the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank, which found that President Obama granted 674 interviews to reporters in his first term; most of them were with local TV reporters.

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