Barack Obama

The Most Open and Transparent Administration in History Confiscates Cell Phones Before Fundraising Dinner


Obama's campaign team has graduated from consigning reporters to the closet during fundraisers, to confiscating the cell phones of attendees: 

Pool reporter David Nakamura of the Washington Post reported that at a $35,800 a head fundraiser at the home of Blackstone COO Hamilton "Tony" James in New York City Monday night, the 60 attendees were asked to place their phones in plastic bags by the door.

An Obama aide called the move it "standard operating procedure," but veterans of a range of other campaigns said they'd never heard of the practice, which is common in secure White House spaces where there are concerns of espionage, but unknown in contexts in which only political secrets are discussed. The new prevalence of sophisticated audio and recording capacities in mobile devices owned by virtually anyone wealthy enough to write a check to a political campaign, however, has put a new pressure on campaigns concerned with staying on a public message.

Former aides to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Rick Perry, and Jon Huntsman all expressed surprise at the practice, and they've never seen an instance where a campaign asked donors to surrender their cell phones.

The former Clinton aide called the Obama policy "absurd," suggesting that the Obama policy is almost certainly a response to the infamous 2008 fundraiser where Obama described voters in rural Pennsylvania as "bitter."

More from Reason on Obama's awful transparency record

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  1. Libertarians cling to their cell phones as a way to explain their frustrations.

    1. My phone is a more of a powerful penis substitute. I was going to wear my cell phone in a holster, but that was just a bit too obvious.

      1. it’s set to vibrate, right?

  2. I hope somebody snuck one in anyway and recorded the juicy bits.

    1. I hope one of the attendees said, “Like Hell,” refused, and asked for his contribution back.

  3. It had nothing to do with security, they did not anyone’s telephone calls to interrupt the Great One when he spoke.

    1. Actually they wanted everyone to feel comfortable in going up and kissing the rainbow messiahs naked buttocks without fear of being photographed and posted on facebook.

      1. As if Obama donors have the sense to be embarrassed by such a thing.

      2. They just wanted to be able to charge extra for the photographs without anyone getting freebies.

  4. the Obama policy is almost certainly a response to the infamous 2008 fundraiser where Obama described voters in rural Pennsylvania as “bitter.”

    Would someone *kindly* explain this to me?

    1. He said that Pennsylanians were ‘bitter, clinging to their god and guns.’ It was recorded on a cell phone and for some reason upset some people.

    2. fundraiser where Obama referred to folks who did not bow to his grace as people who bitterly cling to their god and guns with antipathy for those who don’t look like them. In other words, not loving The Obama and all of his wonder means 1) you’re a gun nut, 2) a jesus freak and 3) of course, racist.

      The shorthand for Candid Camera moment of getting caught being himself was to describe those folks as bitter clingers.

      1. Thanks to all. I did not recall the cell phone aspect of the “clinging” thingy. I suppose now it’ll be ‘bitter, clinging to their god, guns, and cell phones.’

        1. I think the gun-clingers he criticized were Democrats who supported Hillary in the primary.

          So that’s the way he talks about fellow *Democrats.*

    3. He wants to be able to make promises and make comments without being held accountable for them.

      1. He wants to pander without fear the rest of the nation will hear those panders.

  5. Is it time to start calling Obama the new Nixon?

    1. That is unfair to Nixon. Nixon actually did a few things right.

      1. Right.

        Doubled down on Vietnam – ending in utter failure and humiliation.

        Cut the dollars last ties to gold setting the stage for future inflation.

        Created the EPA, kicked the regulatory state into overdrive.

        Created the term “Hispanics” and instituted affirmative action, further racializing politics for the foreseeable future.

        Instituted Wage-Price controls.

        Started the War on Drugs.

        Enemies lists, using the bureaucracy to attack political opponents, Watergate.

        That’s a record that would make Obama proud to call his own.

        1. Doubled down on Vietnam

          Nope. He ended Vietnam. Vietnam ended in Victory in 1973. We went home and had everything we wanted. It wasn’t until 1975 that the North, after violating the treaty and rearming and Ford said we would never return, invaded the South. I will never understand how people continue not to know that history.

          Cut the dollars last ties to gold setting the stage for future inflation.

          That was already done in 1932. It is not like we had even been pretending since then.

          “Created the EPA, kicked the regulatory state into overdrive.”

          Created the EPA, but none of the laws had any teeth until they were amended in the late 1970s. So kicking into overdrive, in addition to being meaningless, is also wrong.

          As for the rest of it, I didn’t say he did everything right, just a few things, which he did.

          1. Cut the dollars last ties to gold setting the stage for future inflation.

            That was already done in 1932. It is not like we had even been pretending since then.


            Gold was used to balance international accounts in the Bretton Woods scheme, which Nixon killed by closing the gold window in 1971.

            John Connally as Nixon’s treasury secretary in announcing that policy to a group of European finance ministers that “the dollar is our currency but your problem”.

            Which shows that Nixon’s administration chose inflation as deliberate policy.

          2. Vietnam ended in Victory in 1973.

            That word? I don’t think it means what you think it means.

            1. Actually, Harry Anslinger – may he roast forever in the place with the flames and the guy with the pitchfork – started the War on Drugs.

              But Nixon did ramp it up, fuckbucket that he was.

            2. Yeah we didn’t win shit.

        2. John said he did a few things right. Like resign and die.

        3. WTF? It’s what the Romans called us.

          The words Spain, Spanish, and Spaniard are of the same etymology as Hispanus . . .
          Hispanus was the Latin name given to a person from Hispania during Roman rule. In English, the term Hispano-Roman is sometimes used.[7] The Hispano Romans were composed of people from many different tribes.[8] Some famous Hispani (plural of Hispanus) were Seneca the Elder, Seneca the Younger, Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Martial, Prudentius, the Roman Emperors Trajan, Hadrian and Theodosius I, and also Magnus Maximus and Russell Crowe.

          1. Had to edit out due to the retarded squirrels, but it mentions English speakers adapted ‘hispanic’ from hispanus in the 16th Century, so, no, my cultural history was NOT invented by Richard Nixon. We don’t suck that bad.

    2. Nixon actually recorded his conversations though.

      1. +1

  6. transparency does not mean what this White House thinks it means. Shocking. At this point, The Obama could tell me the sun was going to rise in the east and I would have to set my alarm just to see for myself.

    1. Yes it does. Here’s a perfectly proper definition of “transparent”: “easily seen through, recognized, or detected: transparent excuses.”

      I think you owe Obama and his administration an apology.

      1. so I should have said “transparency does not mean what we think it means? I am duly chastened and will now look for ways to give back to King Obie I, protector of all that he sees and all who speak his name.

        1. Dude, words mean precisely what Obama wants them to mean, no more, no less.

          And it’s your problem if you’re too dumb to figure out what Obama wants at any given moment.

        2. With this administration, be sure to consider alternative, slang, and even obsolete definitions of commonly used words. You’ll learn a great deal that way.

          For instance, when the president says, “Let me be clear”, he’s using “clear” to mean “transparent.” See above on what that means.

          1. Hell, there’s probably still debate somewhere on what the meaning of “is”, is.

  7. Dud ethat is jsut downright scary when you think about it.

  8. Incidentally, I’ve been to rural Pennsylvania. And the voters there are bitter.

    And they eat horse meat.

    1. What’s wrong with horse meat? It is a perfectly good source of nutrition.

      Think of all the starving children in third-world countries who would love to have that meat. Why do you hate the children?

  9. I think you guys are being unfair here. Is it possible that obama just wanted to make sure no one was playing angry birds while the president discussed the most important issues of our time, like a Green New Deal?

    1. Interesting idea.

      I suspect it’s that he doesn’t want anybody to know what he really thinks.

      He’s lettin’ his hair down, for a bit, and he’s sold a lot of BS as gospel truth over the last four years.

      Take his position on gay marriage, for instance. He always said he was against it, but he never was. Is there anybody out there who really believes he was ever against gay marriage?

      At a fund raiser, you gotta tell people what you really think. And he can’t have people knowing what he really thinks–not at such an important point in the election cycle.

      It’s okay for donors to know what he really thinks, but what happens in fundraisers stays in fundraisers…

      It’s like filming a bachelor party.

      One doesn’t just pull out a camera at a bachelor party.

      This is like that.

      1. He was against gay marriage. He was in favor of civil unions, that would be a separate institution from marriage but equal to it (He did not seem to grasp the irony of this). Then the polls started showing a majority of people in favor of gay marriage, and he evolved to be in favor of it.

        1. He was against gay marriage. He was in favor of civil unions

          That’s “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”.

          That’s doubletalk.

          That’s treating people like they’re stupid.

          He was always in favor of gay marriage. If he said he wasn’t before?

          He was lying.

  10. Sortof off-topic, but I got a mass email from Campaign for Liberty or whoever about Paul’s delegate strategy and why he quit campaigning in primary states. Basically, it said they think Romney’s close to having enough delegates and now they want to use the ones they have to change the party’s platform.

    We are in an excellent position to make sure the Republican Party adds solid liberty issues to the GOP Platform, which our delegates will be directly positioned to approve. Our campaign is presently working to get several items up for consideration, including monetary policy reform, prohibitions on indefinite detention, and Internet freedom.

    1. If this is the case, I’d like to see the Romneyites squirm as they are forced to take a position on these issues. Will they go along with the platform changes in the hopes they can ignore the platform later? Or will they show their true colors and reject these planks, losing an unknown number of Paul supporters in the process?

  11. If Barry really wanted to live up to his “open and transparent” lie, he would insist on a live TV feed at this and every event.

    Far as I’m concerned, politicians should be treated like cops – 24/7 open-mic/live video feed, so we can keep an eye on the dishonest fucks.

    1. Bonus:

      Team Obama wants to pry into the private lives of Mitt’s donors, so what’s with the secrecy here?

    2. I’m totally for this, all of his speeches should be live, or taped in their entirety.

  12. Meanwhile, they send investigators to root through the private lives of Romney donors.

    It worked against Jack Ryan, or Obama would never have won that senate seat.

  13. Having credibility so thin you can see right through it is indeed a form of transparency, but it’s not the kind anyone in their right mind wants.

    Except Obama, apparently.

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