President Barack Obama is interviewed by Debby Knox- Indianapolis WISH CBS, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Dec. 8, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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Knox interviews Obama

Published 9:09pm Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Remember what you were doing at 2 p.m. Dec. 8?
Edwardsburg’s Debby Knox was conducting the interview of a lifetime.
One on one. President Barack Obama. At the White House.
Even for a prominent Indianapolis anchorwoman, how does that happen?
“I am not totally sure how I got the invitation to interview President Obama,” she replied by email Monday.
What she does know is that she interviewed him as a presidential candidate at Garfield Park in the summer of 2008, when he won Indiana.
“A White House staffer told me they reviewed that tape before calling WISH-TV and extending the invitation to me. At any rate, I was thrilled to get the chance to speak to him. It was the interview of a lifetime, even though it was brief.”
Southwest Michigan might remember Knox as Miss Blossomtime 1972, but south of the border she is an Emmy-nominated anchorwoman who has been a staple in Hoosier homes for more than two decades.
Six times she has been voted central Indiana’s “Favorite Female Anchor” by readers of Indianapolis Woman magazine.
Debby is WISH-TV’s 24-Hour News 8’s lead anchor for Indiana’s most watched late news team. She can be seen at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
And on YouTube with the leader of the free world, who won’t be attending the Super Bowl in Indianapolis.
“The predominant theme” among questions solicited from viewers “as you might expect is jobs,” Knox said. “These are folks who are desperate and want answers.”
“It’s the thing I wake up thinking about and go to bed thinking about,” Obama said. “The most important thing we can do for jobs right now is to make sure the payroll tax cut gets extended into next year. The recovery is making progress, but it’s still fragile. If you suddenly take $120 million out of the pockets of folks in Indiana and all across the country, that’s money they can’t spend at a business and that business then can’t hire.”
Long-term, “We intervened and made sure the auto industry was still strong because I believe in American manufacturing and those are good-paying jobs. We would have lost thousands of jobs in Indiana if we hadn’t intervened,” the president said. “Then we’ve got to start looking at what are the new industries of the future. That means retraining our workers and helping start-ups. Today we announced an additional $2 billion to help start-up companies all across America.”
Knox’s viewers’ frustration with Washington is at 10 on a scale of one to 10.
Obama said his personal frustration level is “off the scale. Most of these challenges we face as a country are solvable pretty quickly,” including the deficit with a “balanced approach” of the wealthiest paying “a little bit more” in taxes while scaling back some spending and modifying entitlements — “our health care spending in particular.”
“Let’s put country ahead of party,” Obama said. “The American people don’t want as a Christmas present their taxes going up by $1,000. That would be true for 160 million Americans if we don’t extend this payroll tax cut. That is a bad idea for the economy and, obviously, bad for individual families.”
Debby, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Robert Knox, started with WISH-TV on the noon news, then was promoted to early anchor, coming from stations in Elkhart and South Bend.
While her main focus has been health and medical technology, as her station biography nails it, “She is also known for her one-on-one interviews with prominent newsmakers.”
Knox graduated from the University of Michigan, is mother to two children and the wife of psychologist Richard Tirman. Most of her time away from work is spent with her family, although she and lead sports anchor Anthony Calhoun raise tens of thousand of dollars each year for inner-city youth with a golf outing.
She is an avid reader, exercise enthusiast and skier.

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