When first-time candidate Obama was making the media rounds in 2007/2008, he was greeted with kid gloves, open arms and an eagerness by the media to help him win. While much of the same attitude remains in the major media outlets, many smaller local market reporters aren’t giving him the same treatment he enjoyed last time around.

Instead of spreading his 2012 message, President Obama has been largely on the defensive regarding a slew of stories on economic news and the debt crisis.

Report from Fox News:

President Obama is having trouble getting his 2012 campaign off the runway.

On Monday, the president was set to take the fight to red states he wants Republicans to worry about in 2012 with interviews with television stations from Colorado, North Carolina, Indiana and Texas.

But instead of being able to stay on the attack against a proposed Republican budget and lay out his talking points on a debt reduction plan that would raise taxes and decrease Medicare and Medicaid payments to doctors, Obama instead found himself on the defensive over a warning shot fired by bond rating house Standard & Poor.

While past local interviewers have nuzzled the commander in chief with tender, beseeching questions, including one who invited Obama to her house for lemon martinis, S&P’s cannon fire drowned out the happy patter of local anchors looking for a little presidential repartee.

The agency, one of two main evaluators of governments’ creditworthiness, said that the American political situation makes it unlikely that the looming debt crisis will be averted in the next two years. Every year that passes makes the fixes more painful, which in turn, makes them less politically feasible. Then one day you wake up and your government is paying 20 percent to borrow money, like the Greeks, instead of the current rate of 4 percent.

In his interviews on Monday, Obama vindicated that forecast by denouncing Republican austerity measures as unfair and downplaying his and his party’s responsibility for the crisis.

Obama restated in starker terms his argument that $14.3 trillion debt is mostly the fault of Republicans during the Bush era, blaming the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a Republican program to give free prescription drugs to senior citizens and tax cuts for “most” of the $14.3 trillion debt.

It’s true that some $10 trillion of the $14.3 trillion national debt was incurred in the years between 2001 and 2008, but it sounds kind of odd to be blaming the wars (total 10-year cost of $1.2 trillion, about $500 billion less than one year’s deficit at current rates), the drug benefit (cost estimates differ widely based on savings to the rest of Medicare but projections run at about $40 billion a year), and the tax cuts for high-income earners (estimated to reduce federal receipts by about $80 billion a year).

Obama and his team added more than $4 trillion to the debt in two years and Obama’s own, quite optimistic, budget forecast has trillions continuing to pile up each year for another decade.

Here is an interview President Obama did on Monday with WFAA in Dallas, Texas:

After several years of President Obama’s policies, it will become increasingly difficult to place 100% of the blame on the prior administration. It appears that some journalists are now willing to call the President out on this issue.