Politics

White House Attempts to Avoid Scandal, Creates Scandal

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Barack Obama

In a strange turn of events, President Obama has quickly gone from gracious beer summit moderator, to rude, inhospitable lunch host. Fox News, NBC, and Politico (and probably many more media outlets) have reported on what was intended to be a non-story:

Four of the most powerful business leaders in America arrived at the White House one day last month for lunch with President Barack Obama, sitting down in his private dining room just steps from the Oval Office.

But even for powerful CEOs, there's no such thing as a free lunch: White House staffers collected credit card numbers for each executive and carefully billed them for the cost of the meal with the president.

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  1. We are the ones we’ve been splitting the tab with.

  2. I wonder what a beer costs at the White House?

  3. A third beer thread?
    Ow my liver.

  4. Taxpayers pay for all the food in the White House, if I’m not mistaken. So, if these CEOs paid for the food we already paid for, did that money get sent to the Treasury? If not, where did it go?

  5. Obama has already given these guys 1 trillion+. The least they could do was pay for lunch.

  6. Why does that picture remind me of Cleavon Little?

  7. See, I tole ya’ll he was gonna save us some money.

  8. I doubt the White House bills every private citizen invited to lunch with the President.

    I think this was just a mean spirited stab at America’s business people. It was an attempt to demonstrate dominance. They invite these people who are powerful in their own private domains to Obama’s house and then force them against all custom to pay for the privilege. Such custom breaking is used to cower people, to communicate to them that they are such outsiders that the usual rules of courtesy do not apply. It was an attempt to communicate to the business people their inferior status in Obama’s eyes.

    I doubt it was thought out in such terms. Like most bullies, they did not carefully articulate their reasoning to themselves. They simply let their hatred of the productive elements of American society goad them into a petty swipe at them.

  9. I wonder if the whitehouse is licensed as a commercial kitchen?

  10. Does Obama pay out of pocket for all of his meals?

  11. TANSTAAFL

  12. oh this one’s just about food.
    guess I’m drunker than I thought.

  13. This is a terrible lapse of protocol, and hardly avoids an appearance of impropriety. Especially in light of one article I read that mentioned said that Bush refused to even host CEO’s at the White House in order to avoid any undue appearances.

  14. I don’t see how this is out of character. Making commitments and sticking others with the bill is becoming the hallmark of Obama’s administration.

  15. I thought the president is required to pay for food prepared in the White House kitchen (and for his family) out of his own pocket. Perhaps hosted meals are exempt?

  16. I like how the article pretends that the food being served there is the item of value for which these businessmen traveled to the White House not access to the motherfucking President of the motherfucking United States of America.

  17. Meanwhile Obama is happy to spend $20,000+ of tax payer dollars to do a burger run as a PR stunt.

    The cognitive dissonance of Obama is astounding. It really is like the guy is a retard.

  18. I’m a lot less interested in whether or not these businessmen paid for their White House lunch than I am in: who they were, and just what they were secretly scheming about with the President.

  19. Will he be charging the kiddies for Easter eggs next spring?

  20. I wonder if he drank Bud Light at the lunch… terrible taste

  21. from the Politico article:

    Around the table with Barack Obama that afternoon were Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox Corporation; Muhtar Kent, CEO of The Coca-Cola Company; AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson; and Honeywell International CEO Dave Cote.

  22. Great, so these CEO’s had to pay $26.95 for their cedar plank salmon and rice pilaf. Why were these CEO’s there in the first place? And why is the Obama administration so nakedly corrupt?

    To me, this is no different than Obama publicly chastising a few businessmen about their couple of million in bonuses, while quietly wiring them multiple billions in direct taxpayer funded cash payments.

  23. Around the table with Barack Obama that afternoon were Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox Corporation; Muhtar Kent, CEO of The Coca-Cola Company; AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson; and Honeywell International CEO Dave Cote.

    Ursala Burns/Dave Cote: Probably there to have a say in the structuring of the new cyber Czar office. Possibly healthcare informatics.

    Muhtar Kent: There to make sure taxation of soda equally affects the small independent soda manufacturers and other sundry competition.

    Randall Stephenson: Ongoing telecom regulations and ‘new media’ oversight.

    This is easy. Hit me with some more.

  24. Shannon, I usually agree with you, but not this time. I think it was more a bow to the left-wing fringe and protocol ignorance than a message to the CEOs.

    It’s astoundingly stupid, in any case. For the rest of his term, every time somebody who isn’t a foreign diplomat gets invited to the White House for a meal, people will ask whether they had to pay, too. And who else have they invited before this? Why do I suspect that people from unions, lefty NGOs, etc. have not been similarly charged?

  25. I thought the Whitehouse only accepted PayPal and wire transfers; I guess they found someone who could get them a merchant account. Good for them.

    Meanwhile, if you’d like to see just how good a job Reason and the other leaders of the supposed BHO opposition are doing to help BHO, read this a few times until my point is clear. Reason and those who actually have influence helped BHO get elected, and they’re still helping him.

  26. “Officials defended the move by saying that billing the businessmen was simply a way to avoid a conflict of interest.”

    But a convicted business associate buying the parcel of land next to your home in Chicago and giving you a piece of it for what amounts to nothing so you don’t have towrry about anyone else moving in next door. Well thats just fine. No conflict of any interests there, nope.

  27. PayapayaSF:

    Agreed. We wasn’t so much chastising CEO’s (like the $19.00 Pasta Alredo really ‘stings’ the CEO). He’s trying to create the image that “nothing is free” here in Washington, and we don’t give ‘perks’ to CEO’s. Of course, this is laughable, because I wasn’t invited to the white house to “buy” my $21.00 Pork Tenderloin and talk to Obama about his healthcare reform…erh I mean healthcare overhaul. So the perks are flowing mightily from the Obama whitehouse, they just require a small token admission fee upfront.

  28. Wonder what would have been said if Dubya invited four union heads to the White House and done the same? Maybe it is time for people to send their regrets when invited.

  29. Shut the fuck up, Lonewacko.

  30. My question is, will the Secret Service let me bring my own food? Will they have TSA like rules and I can only have 3 oz portions?

  31. Now he’s set a precedent he will have to live with for the rest of his Presidency.

    For the life of me, if its a conflict of interest for the President to buy a CEO lunch, why isn’t it a conflict for him to buy an ambassador lunch? Or a head of state?

    Did he bill the cop, the prof, and the hairplugs for their beers?

  32. I would think it would be a legitimate FOIA request to ask for all the bills issued by the White House for “guests” who have eaten there.

  33. Especially in light of one article I read that mentioned said that Bush refused to even host CEO’s at the White House in order to avoid any undue appearances.

    Hahaha, that makes it true!

    Look at all the libertarians bitching about the president not spending public money.

    I think a host provides for his guests as a matter of etiquette. So by making them pay Obama is making clear he’s not hosting them as buddies but is merely transacting official business. Or something.

  34. Oh Tony, if libertarians are “reduced” to arguing that we should cut the White House Official Food Bill, you can call me and bill the call to Cloud Nine, ’cause that is where I’ll be.

  35. So in other words TAO you are philosophically consistent, often to the point of absurdity, except in cases where you get to whack Obama.

  36. er, no. not sure where you are getting that. I do not think that I have ever said anything about being an anarchist, have I?

  37. Muhtar Kent: There to make sure taxation of soda equally disproportionately affects the small independent soda manufacturers and other sundry competition.

    FIFY.

  38. Tony, perfect philosophical consistency is rarely a good idea. That way lies fanaticism. (Like the Red Guards deciding that since red is the color of forward-moving revolution, it should mean “go” instead of “stop” in traffic lights.)

    I have no problem with any President hosting a meal for people he wants to talk with. Not charging someone you invite to lunch just seems like basic manners. But I would not be OK with (e.g.) renting out the Lincoln Bedroom for campaign cash.

  39. Tony, I think what we libs are laughing at/bitching about is the selectivity of billing some people for their meals, and not others.

  40. So by making them pay Obama is making clear he’s not hosting them as buddies but is merely transacting official business.

    So, when the unions or whoever is over for a snack, they aren’t transacting business, they’re just his buddies, droppin’ by his crib?

  41. You know your administration is corrupt when you have a credit card point of sale in the Oval Office. :-\

    Seriously, I’m curious as to how they ran the credit cards, and more importantly where the collected money is going to wind up.

  42. did the ceo’s have to tip the staff for the services?

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