President Obama Asks To 'Clear Out The Press' During White House Speech To Governors

on February 26 2013 1:29 PM
Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington Monday. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

President Barack Obama started a new firestorm with the media on Monday, when he asked to "clear out the press so we can take some questions" during a White House speech before members of the National Governors Association.

Here's a video of Obama making the request:

The demand, which came at the conclusion of his public remarks as part of this week's 2013 National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C., has angered members of the press who argue that Obama is not making good on his oft-repeated promise to lead an open administration.

The bold request comes just 12 days after Obama made the claim that his is "the most transparent administration in history" -- just three days before his press team denied the White House Press Corps access to the president while he golfed with Tiger Woods in Florida.

And that debacle came on the heels of a controversial statement John O. Brennan made before the Senate Intelligence Committee during his Feb. 7 confirmation hearing to become CIA director.

“What we need to do is optimize transparency on these issues, but at the same time, optimize secrecy and the protection of our national security,” Brennan told the committee.

Immediately following Obama's Monday speech, the Washington Post's Erik Wemple addressed the issue of Obama clearing out the press in a post on the newspaper's website, where he slammed the Obama administration for its unwillingness to maintain transparency.

"Seems there’s a contest of sorts going on within the White House: Who can fashion the most Orwellian quote regarding open government?" Wemple wrote.

And Breitbart.com's John Nolte wrote that Obama "pretty much laughed in their collective faces" when he dismissed the press during his Monday address.

"If it mattered, the dismissive way Obama treats the media coupled with his lack of transparency would be troubling. But it doesn't matter. Even if the president was as transparent as glass, the media would still cover up anything that might politically damage him. So the fact that Obama treats the media like the lackeys they are, is actually very amusing and all kinds of satisfying," Nolte wrote. "The media's been whining about 'access' for 10 days now and as a result, today, Obama pretty much laughed in their collective faces with this."

The White House had not yet officially responded to criticism about the clearing of the press as of 1:15 p.m. Tuesday.

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