The White House website proudly says ‘President Obama is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history.’
But try telling Vice President Joe Biden’s staff that, after they held a local reporter in a closet for hours after he was invited to cover a Florida political fundraiser because they did not want him talking with the guests.
As the unaware $500-a-head invitees dined on caprese crostini with oven-dried mozzarella and basil, rosemary flatbread with grapes honey and gorgonzola cheese, grilled chicken Caesar and garden vegetable wraps, veteran reporter Scott Powers was locked away.
The Orlando Sentinel reporter was ushered into the closet inside wealthy property developer Alan Ginsburg’s Winter Falls mansion, after being told that Joe Biden and Senator Bill Nelson had not yet arrived.
They were due to speak to the audience to raise money for the 2012 elections.
He was told he could only come out when the politicians were ready to give their speeches.
Powers told The Drudge Report: ‘When I'd stick my head out, they'd say, “Not yet. We'll let you know when you can come out.”’
The party was being held for Democrat senator Bill Nelson. Powers emailed from inside the closet: 'sounds like a nice party'
After 90 minutes he was allowed out to hear Biden and Nelson speak for 35 minutes, before being taken back to the closet for the remainder of the event.
From inside his temporary prison Powers emailed his office from his cell phone: ‘Sounds like a nice party.’
When Ginsburg – who has supported both Democrat and Republican candidates in the past – learnt of the treatment that took place in his house, he called the reporter.
Powers said: ‘[Ginsburg] said he had no idea they'd put me in a closet and was very sorry.
‘He said he was just following their lead and was extremely embarrassed by the whole thing.’
But some guests were shocked by the Vice President’s staff.
One emailed the paper saying: ‘I was in attendance at the Fundraiser and enjoyed a nice lunch.
‘If I had known there was a reporter stuffed in the closet, I would have been compelled to stand up and demand answers.
‘I would also like to know if this is actually legal to treat people like caged animals. I’m disgusted by these actions.’
Florida state law says kidnapping entails ‘forcibly, secretly or by threat confining, abducting or imprisoning another person against her or his will and without lawful authority.’
Powers said of his treatment: ‘It was frustrating and annoying that I was not given a chance to do my job fully and properly.
‘This was an extreme, and extremely inappropriate way of handling the press… it was essentially a rude and uncomfortable way to treat a reporter.’
He attempted to play down his treatment calling it ‘hardly unusual or shocking’ and confirmed that he received an apology from Ginsburg.
But the Vice President’s staff emailed him an apology which he said ‘I found far less satisfying than Ginsburg’s.’
The incident is especially embarrassing for the administration because it comes at a time when the White House has been condemning the treatment of journalists trying to report in Libya.
Just ten days ago, President Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney told reporters: ‘journalists should be protected and allowed to do their work.’
Answer by Carpy at 2:26 PM on Mar. 27, 2011
I am not shocked by this at all. Biden is a very bad person. I don't care for Obama's politics but after meeting him a couple times I do think he is a good person at heart. Just a bit in over his head since he has so little experience doing really anything. Biden is a jerk I have met him he is a bully and a rude person. Any man who can make up a lie about his wife and child being killed by a drunk driver for professional gain is a bad person. He tried to destroy the character of a man who simply was in an accident with his wife. From all accounts no one really knows who caused the accident but the driver wasn't drunk. Bidens wife and child died in a horrible accident and I am sure both would be disappointed in him for the lie.
Answer by Anonymous at 2:13 PM on Mar. 27, 2011
Answer by LoriKeet at 3:21 PM on Mar. 27, 2011
Answer by lovinangels at 5:48 PM on Mar. 27, 2011
Answer by DSamuels at 2:04 PM on Mar. 27, 2011
Answer by foreverb3 at 2:10 PM on Mar. 27, 2011
I didn't know that about Biden's wife and child but I am not surprised that they used the story to his help his career... None of them neglect to use a crisis for something...
Answer by Carpy 5 minutes ago
"read that, and must say, I just have no words. How the hell can people support this adm??"
I completely agree with this, Carpy!
Answer by agentwanda at 2:39 PM on Mar. 27, 2011
Answer by lovinangels at 2:09 PM on Mar. 27, 2011
Answer by ky_phoenix at 4:52 PM on Mar. 27, 2011
Answer by LoriKeet at 5:55 PM on Mar. 27, 2011