January 8th, 2014
08:47 AM ET
3 months ago

White House denies Obama-Biden lunch opened due to gates book

Updated at 11:20 a.m. ET, 1/8/14

Washington (CNN) - One day after excerpts from a tell-all memoir penned by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates took Washington by storm, the White House is granting the press rare but limited access to a lunch between President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

According to the daily schedule for the President released by the White House, still and television photographers will be allowed to capture images of Obama and Biden during what is normally a private meeting. The President and Vice President typically sit down for lunch once a week.

A White House official said the decision to allow still photographers into the Obama-Biden lunch is a response to recent press criticism of White House policy on access to the president's events. Representatives of the news organizations covering Obama have complained the White House has at times relied to too heavily on its own official photographer in providing presidential images to the public.

"The reason we opened up the lunch is to make good on our promise to provide more access to photographers who cover the White House," a White House official said.

The official said the lunch press event is not tied to Gates' memoir, "Duty," which offers a blistering critique of the President, the Vice President, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. One of the more potentially damaging criticisms in the released excerpts is aimed squarely at the Vice President.

"I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades," Gates writes.

That verbal assault was rejected by the White House in a statement released by National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.

"The President disagrees with Secretary Gates' assessment," Hayden said in the statement. "Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time," she added.

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    It's all politics. I wouldn't doubt if Gates intends on running for office.

    January 8, 2014 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  2. CB FL

    Opinions are like belly buttons, everyone has one.

    January 8, 2014 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The President and Vice President typically sit down for lunch once a week."

    Typically, I try to sit down and eat lunch everyday. Good to see the President and Vice President try to eat lunch at least once a week. I would recommend an every day lunch though; especially for our President and Vice President.

    January 8, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  4. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    It's all about politics and the GOP trying to smear the dems before the upcoming election, same old GOP teaparty BS propaganda, I'm still voting for the dems for sure!!!!!

    January 8, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  5. O'drama ya Mama

    Bring a Republican into your administration for bipartisanship...get stabbed in the back.

    January 8, 2014 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  6. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Who made gates judge jury and executioner , the GOP clown has never been elected to anything and this is just the GOP primer for the 2014 and 2016 elections, more bs and lies, what else do they have to run on, oh yea, the one trick pony hide behind obamacare while the GOP has nothing to offer.

    January 8, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Now watch some moron on the right take these comments completely out of context and try and use them against Hillary in 2016. From my count, I've got 3 republicans(Huntsman, Gates, Hagel) who served/serve under President Obama. Do you recall any democrats in the Bush Administration?

    January 8, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  8. Anonymous

    If the Reublicans are so anxious to take this story and run with it, do you think they will also recognize that
    Robert Gates:

    Gave credit to President Obama for getting Bin Laden?
    Agreed with the President on Benghazi?
    Agreed with the President on Syria?

    No, they won't but it is part of the book. Gates was used to Bush and was apparently shocked that he now
    worked for a hands-on President. He could have quit, so he couldn't have been to upset.

    January 8, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  9. Tampa Tim

    I wonder how many lunches Cheney and W had after W refused to pardon Scooter.

    January 8, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. ST

    I was not impressed at all by Robert Gates remarks in his book. This is the man who was granted extension of his job by the current President. Does he mean that everything was 100% perfect during Pres. Bush's era? If this is not only Cherry-picking what is it? To me he has lost his credibility. This is not the way we honor those who made us to put food on the table even if it is only one day.

    January 8, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    Hey, it is about time Gates, told the truth about what has been going on behind close doors. but i have to admit,even though im a republican, the one and only thing i liked about Obama, was the fact the he wanted out of both wars. 75% of all Americans agree.

    January 8, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    It's all about politics and the GOP trying to smear the dems before the upcoming election, same old GOP teaparty BS
    -------------------------------------------------
    No doubt, you're absolutely correct of course.
    I would just find it easier to dismiss and shrug off if it came from one of the House cray-crays trying to ensure that their gravy congressional paychecks kept being direct deposited into their bank accounts upon their re-election. Yet to have it come from someone who professes to respect their Commander-In-Chief ("going after bin laden was the most courageous decision I've ever seen made in the White House") while simulatenously stabbing him in the back is just too much.

    January 8, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    Everyone knows Biden is a buffoon, not to mention a foul mouthed person, in public.

    January 8, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    If the Reublicans are so anxious to take this story and run with it, do you think they will also recognize that
    Robert Gates:

    Gave credit to President Obama for getting Bin Laden?
    Agreed with the President on Benghazi?
    Agreed with the President on Syria?

    No, they won't but it is part of the book. Gates was used to Bush and was apparently shocked that he now
    worked for a hands-on President. He could have quit, so he couldn't have been to upset
    -------------------------------------------------
    Good points.

    January 8, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  15. rbockman

    a little too late, but Gates proves he is not the lapdog we thought, bravo Gates.

    January 8, 2014 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  16. michael

    CNN, as usual in for President Obama Bashing, even though many things said about Him actually Americans approve, like getting out of Iraq and Afganhistan. The President gave a repuglican a very influential cabinet position, something no repuglican would do and what doe he get in return! The O'Jays record "backstabber" comes to mind; they smile in your face all the time they want to take your place (or replace you). This should not shock Americans or the media, he is a repuglican for God sakes! What did you expect to hear "a loving praise and worship for the enemy." If so, Americans and the media have degenerated intellectually more than I've realized!

    January 8, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  17. jpmichigan

    The truth will prevail! One can spin and smooth talk, but eventually all the truth and realities will come out.

    January 8, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. Sheila

    they both should take advantage of whatever the w.h. chefs can do or cook....I would order up the best of everything, on a daily basis – they will both be lame ducks, in a few short months

    January 8, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. much thunder..little rain

    poor uncle joe...everyone new this anyway ..your a joke

    January 8, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    Just more finger pointing.

    January 8, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. wendel

    he also made some really pointed comments about the congress but no one seems to be interested. Sounds like he felt threatened but should have waited until administration left office. Now it just sounds like sour grapes from a repo . Besides comments about vice president are really off the wall and why isn't he talking about when he was in the bush administration?? Would not sell as many books maybe?????

    January 8, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. Sniffit

    ""The President and Vice President typically sit down for lunch once a week."

    Typically, I try to sit down and eat lunch everyday. Good to see the President and Vice President try to eat lunch at least once a week. I would recommend an every day lunch though; especially for our President and Vice President."

    Haha...love the dry humor on that one. Personally, I'm a little confused why they would stand for lunch all but one day a week. It's like the one hour each day you get to relax.

    January 8, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. Evergreen

    One man's opinion. Obviously Mr. Gates did not feel as though he could have done a better job as President otherwise, being a true patroit, he would have run for office.

    January 8, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. Econ301

    I know Republicans are tying to make hay with Gates book, but I guess they are overlooking the part where mentions some not to nice comments about the House and Congress in general. Comments that are far more shameful then what he said about the President.

    I guess they are just counting on people to not read the book and hear the whole picture.

    January 8, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. CryBabies

    If this is a start at transparency, its seems like a drop in the bucket...but atleast a start. The more transparent these two are, the less "splain'n" they have to do.

    January 8, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |