President Barack Obama has often been indignant about lobbyist influence and the topic was a key part of his 2012 reelection campaign.
But on Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney barely responded to a question about Obama’s Saturday golf outing with a major Washington lobbyist.
Obama golfed with Joe O’Neil, president and CEO of Public Strategies Washington. He is a Democratic lobbyist, but also represents Bain Capital.
SiriusXM radio reporter Jared Rizzi asked, “When the president golfed on Saturday with Joe O’Neil who is the president and CEO of Public Strategies Washington, does that violate or tarnish somewhat the president’s promise to limit access for lobbyists to the White House?”
Carney answered, “I think he played a game of golf, Jared,” and then moved on.
Obama campaigned in 2008 about keeping a greater distance from lobbyists. Just last February, he repeated his indignant remarks about lobbyists.
“There are millions of Americans who could just use a little bit of boost—millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of the old, stale political arguments, or tired of folks just looking out for people who can afford big lobbyists and big campaign contributions,” Obama said.
The White House pool report on Saturday said the outing was at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va. Others attending were U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk and Milton Carroll of CenterPoint Energy.