White House Press Secretary Jay Carney seemed to contradict President Obama Wednesday after he told reporters that the final decision to cancel all tours was from the White House, not the Secret Service.
“We had to cancel the tours,” he said during a press briefing. “It’s our job to cancel the tours. They cannot cancel them. This is not a tour of the Secret Service building; it’s a tour of the White House and the grounds and we run the tours.”
“The White House,” Carney continued, “cancelled the tours, confronted with the choice made by the Secret Service – which we concur with – but it is certainly their choice because it’s their budget.”
However, contrary to Carney, the president said during an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that was published Wednesday that the decision to cancel all self-guided tours of the White House came from the Secret Service, not his staff.
“You know, I have to say this was not — a decision that went up to the White House. But th– what the Secret Service explained to us was that they’re going to have to furlough some folks. What furloughs mean is– is that people lose a day of work and a day of pay,” the president said, per an early transcript of the interview.
“And, you know, the question for them is, you know, how deeply do they have to furlough their staff and is it worth it to make sure that we’ve got White House tours,” he added.
... what I’m asking them is are there ways, for example, for us to accommodate school groups– you know, who may have traveled here with some bake sales. Can we make sure that– kids, potentially, can– can still come to tour?
But– but– I’m always amused when people on the one hand say — the sequester doesn’t mean anything and the administration’s exaggerating its effects; and then whatever the specific effects are, they yell and scream and say, “Why are you doin’ that?”
Final Thought: Between Carney, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano all getting caught in budget cut contradictions/fibs, we think it's time the president officially appoints someone to coordinate the White House's sequester hand-wringing.
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