The fire sale at the White House
Bubba was a piker. The Clinton White House sold sleepovers in the Lincoln Bedroom that were cheap at the price. Barack Obama is auctioning off access to His Grandiosity for really big bucks. Unlike Hillary, Michelle doesn’t even have to straighten up the room and make up the bed when the guests leave.
The White House reacted with considerable heat Monday to editorials in the New York Times and the Washington Post scolding the president for putting “major campaign donors” on an “advisory board” and giving them frequent “access” to the president. This little perk was said to be going for a half-million dollars.
“Any notion that there is a set price for a meeting with the president of the United States is just wrong,” Jay Carney, the president’s mouthpiece, told reporters at the White House.
The wording of Mr. Carney’s remarks, which are usually carefully measured to make sure the spokesman’s brain is engaged before his mouth moves, raises speculation that the price of the access is set on a sliding scale. This could pose problems for the president and his men. If the CEO of Ajax Widgets LLC pays $500,000 for a cup of coffee and a breakfast bagel with the president, he won’t be pleased to learn that the CEO of Acme Anvils, Inc., got the president’s ear for $475,000, and maybe got two bagels and a strawberry shmear on the side.
The Washington Post, in its editorial, decried the sale of access as “behavior that has become all too common in this town and carries more than a whiff of influence-peddling.” The New York Times detected more than a whiff, of something like genuine stink. An advisory board, the newspaper said, “is nothing more than a fancy way of setting a price for access to Mr. Obama.”
This contretemps, so far the cloud no bigger than a man’s hand, is nevertheless enough to shake the president’s supreme self-confidence, rattle the White House dishes and make the floor tremble beneath Mr. Obama’s feet. ...