The White House says cameras weren't allowed because the president was playing on a private golf course. Obama was playing with Tiger Woods, an indication of a different second term where Obama isn't as concerned about things that may reflect negatively on him. NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports.
PORT ST LUCIE, Fla. -- President Barack Obama played a round of golf with Tiger Woods on Sunday, but nobody knew about it until a lone tweet from a golf reporter went live. And now, the White House Press Corps Association has lodged a complaint against the administration, bemoaning the transparency afforded to pool reporters.
At 11 a.m. ET, Golf Digest reporter Tim Rosaforte tweeted this from his vantage point at the exclusive Floridian Yacht and Golf Club in Palm City: "The President is arriving at The Floridian range. Awaiting is Tiger Woods and club owner Jim Crane. Historic day in golf. Their first round."
White House reporters, looking to confirm Woods’ presence, immediately made inquiries with the president’s press team, which went unanswered for almost three hours – confirmation came at 1:46 p.m. ET.
The press corps had been anxious to confirm Woods’ presence. The president playing with the world’s most famous golfer -- involved in a 2009 sex scandal -- immediately became a national news story, as opposed to the commander in chief simply having some down-time with friends.
The small group of reporters assigned to cover the president’s every movement, known as the "pool," also requested access to the Floridian grounds to be nearby the president, even though the press’ vantage point was nowhere near the golf course. But the pool was not shuttled to the resort until 4:18 p.m. ET.
White House Press Corps Association president Ed Henry lodged an official complaint with the White House, writing in a statement, “I can say a broad cross section of our members from print, radio, online and TV have today expressed extreme frustration to me about having absolutely no access to the President of the United States this entire weekend. There is a very simple but important principle we will continue to fight for today and in the days ahead: transparency."
The White House responded with a statement from deputy press secretary Josh Earnest: “The press access granted by the White House today is entirely consistent with the press access offered for previous presidential golf outings. It's also consistent with the press access promised to the White House Press Corps prior to arrival in Florida on Friday evening."