Obama in Indiana, targets Chicago TV press

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WASHINGTONSen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is campaigning in Gary, Ind. on Thursday and with Indiana in play with a May primary, suddenly Obama cares about the Chicago media market, which beams into northwest Indiana, full of Democratic voters.

Obama will be in the Hoosier state until Thursday, and in the afternoon he tapes very short interviews with Rob Johnson of WBBM-channel 2 (1 p.m for five minutes); Andy Shaw of WLS-channel 7 (1:07 p.m. for five minutes) and Mary Ann Ahern of WMAQ-channel 5 (1:14 p.m. for five minutes.) Dont know why WGN-channel 9 and Fox Chicago werent in the Thursday mix.

Obama runs through a tightly choreographed media schedule almost every day. Candidates like morning show interviewsor doing five minutes with local reportersbecause its highly probable the questions will just be on the news of the day, or some message being unveiled. Also, the potential for surprises is limited in short live-to-tape encounters.

Also, each interview can be billed as an exclusive, so the tape will get used no matter what. While local reporters in primary and caucus states get attention from Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Illinois was mainly a fly-over because it was one of 22 states voting on Feb. 5 and Obama had a lock on the state.

Obama, according to traveling press secretary Jen Psaki, starts Thursday with a stop in South Bend which will be pool coverage. After that, He will hold a town hall meeting in Gary at Theodore Roosevelt High School.

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