Peter King, Press Corps Irked Over White House Boston Observance

Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 11:31 PM

By Greg Richter

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New York Republican Rep. Peter King ripped White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's characterization that last year's marathon bombing attack was "mostly important in Boston."

"Boston symbolized the country," King said on Fox News Channel's " "It was a scar upon the entire country, and when Boston fought back, the entire American people fought back."

King joined the White House press corps' displeasure that it was not allowed access to a moment of silence for Boston Marathon victims in the Oval Office on Tuesday.

It was the latest in string of incidents that have pushed the press to ask for more access to President Barack Obama and his administration.

The White House released a photograph of Obama and top aides standing with heads bowed and eyes closed on the first anniversary of the terrorist attack that killed three people and injured more than 250. The picture was taken by the official White House photographer.

Associated Press White House correspondent Julie Pace told Carney that the event was "clearly a newsworthy anniversary, and we think it's appropriate to have independent media coverage of the president on that anniversary."

Carney responded, "We certainly think that the moment is important, but it is mostly important in Boston."

He said the White House has in the past offered to allow one press photographer to attend to take pool photos that can be shared by all news organizations, but that the AP and others had rejected that.

"So, that goes to one side of the argument, but not the one that has to do with access of the free press," Carney said.

Carney was asked later in a press briefing why Obama's schedule was not arranged to allow greater press access, The Hill reported.

"Well, I mean, you could say that about any — you know, why don't we have Cabinet meetings outside and you guys can attend in full, or national security meetings?" he responded.

"I guess the point is the president's having a moment of silence. It's . . . in the Oval Office," he said. "It's his personal commemoration with a handful of advisers of the tragedy that happened in Boston and the resilience that the people of Boston showed in reaction to it."

The press has a longstanding complaint with the Obama White House over access, and some have said they won't use official White House photos unless there is a compelling news or historical reason to do so.

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