Obama engages White House press corps for the first time in weeks

President Obama showed up in the White House briefing room on Monday after taking some heat from the media for avoiding the press corps.

The president didn’t have any public appearances scheduled for the day and, without warning, dropped in on the daily press briefing usually run by White House press secretary Jay Carney.

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Obama has sat with local news outlets while out on the campaign trail but has avoided talking to the national press. While in Pueblo, Colo., earlier this month, the president conducted a roundtable with reporters from La Junta Tribune-Democrat, the Lamar Ledger and the (Walsenburg) Huerfano Journal, according to pool reports. Obama will be meeting with regional television and pool outlets in the oval office this afternoon, but the event is closed press.

The last substantive question Obama took from the press corps was at the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, on June 20, during which he fielded six questions, according to reports.

On Sunday, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said that the interviews the president gave recently to outlets such as People magazine and "Entertainment Tonight" are “equally important” as sit-downs with the national press.

Mitt Romney has also been criticized by some in the press for not engaging with the national media.

Earlier this month, the traveling press secretary for Romney's campaign cursed at reporters who were attempting to ask the presumptive GOP nominee about some of his missteps during his trip overseas.

Reporters on the trip attempted to shout questions at the candidate, who ignored their calls. And traveling press secretary Rick Gorka admonished them to “show some respect.”

A reporter from The New York Times then pointed out that the press had had few opportunities to ask questions during the trip. At the time, Romney had only answered three questions during the week from the pack of reporters traveling with him.