I was about to leave the White House after a ho-hum day as pool reporter Thursday when Yahoo’s Olivier Knox noticed a tweet from People Magazine indicating Hillary Rodham Clinton had met with President Barack Obama at the White House.
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) May 29, 2014
Knox — a member of the group of White House scribes who toil mostly without sunlight in the press quarters in the basement — suggested I look at his Twitter feed.
A secret meeting between the president and the woman currently favored in the polls to succeed him?
Would the White House that brags about its transparency really try to keep such a lunch secret?
Yup. I sought to confirm — along with the rest of the White House press corps.
“The President enjoyed an informal, private lunch with Secretary Clinton at the White House this afternoon,” a White House official said belatedly and on background in response.
I also sent a complaint to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about the lack of transparency by the White House regarding the lunch.
I noted that on July 29, 2013, Obama and Clinton had another private lunch and it was included on the public schedule. A private lunch with Mitt Romney in 2012 was also on the public schedule.
There’s no reason why this lunch shouldn’t have been on the public schedule either, at a minimum.
(The press corps has also been pushing for more access, including opportunities for news photographers and the pool to have the opportunity to witness newsworthy events and ask questions.)