Sunday, February 15, 2009

This Is Transparency?

From Dana Milbank at the Washington Post:
It takes a certain amount of nerve to have an event at the National Press Club and then ban the press from covering it.
It takes another level of chutzpah entirely to admit members of the general public to your event at the National Press Club, recruit a news organization as the co-sponsor and then tell the press they can't cover it.
But that's exactly what former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and Georgetown University did yesterday
Plouffe was listed as the keynote speaker at the luncheon yesterday for "Transition 2009," sponsored by Georgetown University and Politico. The public was invited to the event -- students free of charge and everybody else for a fee. But at the last minute, Georgetown announced that Plouffe's speech would be "closed press," even though the speech was being given in the National Press Club ballroom, described on a plaque at the door as "the sanctum sanctorum of American journalists."
National Press Club President Donna Leinwand fired off an e-mail to Plouffe and his agents stating her "strong opposition" to the press banishment from its own club. "If Mr. Plouffe wants to keep secrets," she said, "Mr. Plouffe should stay at home."
Politico editor John Harris called it "a surprise to me and an unhappy one." Harris pulled out as moderator of the speech and said his publication was disassociating itself from the luncheon.
Un-sponsoring part of the two-day event, however, was rather tricky. The Politico emblem was still emblazoned on signs outside the ballroom and on the lanyards and name tags for attendees.
This sort of mess has become a trademark of the former Obama campaign manager. Plouffe still keeps his Obama ties -- over the weekend he sent out an e-mail in his name to millions from titled "Urgent message from President Obama" -- yet he is also profiting from them. He is reported to have received as much as $2 million for his forthcoming book, "The Audacity to Win" . . .

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