The White House thinks the presence of press prevents lawmakers from truly speaking their minds.
Press Secretary Jay Carney spoke on behalf of President Barack Obama on Tuesday, offering the White House’s explanation for why the press was not invited to the President’s Wednesday debt talks with House Republicans.
“I think that’s closed press — I mean, in part because we need it to be and (Obama) wants it to be an open and frank exchange, and not the kind of thing that leads to — we get every day in Washington where one side goes up on TV and says something, another side goes up on TV shortly thereafter and says something else, and there’s not a real conversation,” Carney told the press corps. “He looks forward to listening, as he did with the Senate Republicans.”
In response to a question about the House’s vote to raise the debt ceiling without cutting spending, a ceremonial measure that was overwhelmingly rejected, Carney said the President had always wanted to cut spending, too — despite the fact that the vote was proposed in response to a call from Obama to simply raise the debt ceiling.
“Well, the President, as you know, agrees with members of both parties in Congress that we need to do something serious about deficit reduction,” Carney said.
“That is why, among many other measures that he’s taken, he asked the Vice President to lead the negotiations that Vice President is leading towards (sic) that end. And those negotiations have made progress, in our view, and we remain confident that there will be an agreement that will significantly reduce the deficit and answer the mail, if you will, with regard to those concerns that the President and members of both parties share.”