Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Lots and lots of promises about transparency have been made by Scooter, the current occupant of the White House but the reality is:

The White House drew criticism Wednesday as President Obama privately signed into law a new arms control agreement with Russia with reporters barred from the historic event.

Still photographers were the only members of the press allowed in as Mr. Obama signed the treaty known as the New START, one of his top foreign policy priorities, alongside several top government officials, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sens. John Kerry and Richard G. Lugar.

The administration’s decision to limit press access to the treaty signing comes after Mr. Obama and his deputies devoted considerable time late last year to a very public push for its ratification by the Senate.

It also comes as Mr. Obama implores the government of embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to respect the basic rights of the nation’s citizens, including the freedom of information and of the press.

The White House Correspondents Association blasted the move in a pointed letter to press secretary Robert Gibbs, pointing out that the “START treaty was held up as one of the president’s most important foreign-policy priorities for almost a year.”

The WHCA also hit Mr. Obama‘s press operation for failing to provide journalists with a “substantive update” as events in Egypt unfolded Tuesday prior to Mr. Obama‘s evening remarks.

Now for two straight days the full press pool is being shut out of events that have typically been open and provided opportunities try to ask the president a question,” according to the board’s protest.

The White House does not always hold a public ceremony when Mr. Obama signs bills into law, but it usually does on key pieces of legislation . Even in the absence of a public signing, the administration often opens up the event to a small group of pool reporters representing the larger press corps.

Mr. Obama - you are conducting the business of "We the People" and if your actions are either enhancing or diminishing the safety of "We the People", we need to be privy to the contents of any treaty or bill signed by you. So no, no private signings. And incidentally, 72 hours online before a bill is presented to either the House or Senate for considersation!

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