March 2nd, 2010
01:50 PM ET
13 years ago

The library v. the classroom showdown

Savannah, Georgia (CNN) - President Barack Obama headed to Savannah Technical College in Georgia on Tuesday to highlight the jobs training program that is part of his stimulus and jobs plan. But it was the White House's attempt to control the media that raised eyebrows.

The White House focused on every detail to get their jobs message across, including where the White House press corps could set up its cameras. Due to logistical issues, the press corps considered using a nearby library but a White House staffer dismissed the idea, forcing the press to make a much more difficult trek to an area that showcased a classroom, where the jobs training occurred. The staffer suggested that the classroom was a better "backdrop" for the press corp and the message.

While the White House aides normally picks a venue for a presidential event, it is unusual for them to attempt to dictate positions for reporter "live shot" cameras - particularly for backdrop purposes.

The message mattered-so much so that the White House actually made it harder for TV reporters to do their jobs.

The White House did not have a comment when pressed further about this issue.

Update 5:22 p.m.: White House spokesman Ben Labolt responded to this blog post, saying the White House would have been "happy to work" with the press corps. LaBolt also explained that using the library would have forced the college to close down the area for the entire day, a different explanation than the one given earlier by another White House staffer.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Jim

    This article is really unclear and seems devoid of any context. What the heck does "a much more difficult trek" mean with respect to a classroom? In what respect does one room or another make a TV reporters job easier or harder?

    March 2, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. j russ

    all looks but no substance with this administration

    March 2, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. librarian

    I say ! Wha'ts wrong with the library ? I am a real librarian by the way.

    March 2, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  4. Richie in Mass

    This administration is so about image and absolutely n substance. His teleprompters don't look good in the library?

    March 2, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Pure "Hollywood" as usual.

    March 2, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. Wisconsonite - End the Anti-Trust Exemption for Insurance Companies!

    What IS it with you today, CNN??? First the story about how many times Harold Ford, Jr. used the word "I" and now this whiney, pathetic piece about how haaaaard the big, old, mean White House staffer made it for the press??!!!! Oh waaaahhhh!

    Walter Cronkite would be ashamed of you!

    March 2, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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