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October 28th, 2009
07:22 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Money for White House Access?

Democrat Barack Obama campaigned in 2008 on a message of change.

Democrat Barack Obama campaigned in 2008 on a message of change.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

According to reports, big Democratic donors, many of them friends of Pres. Obama, are getting VIP access to the White House. We're talking about use of the bowling alley, Oval Office meetings, and movie screenings in the basement theater.

This may bring memories of Pres. Bill Clinton's prestigious list of those who got to stay overnight in the Lincoln bedroom. Or more recently, Pres. George W. Bush gave donors access to the White House, Camp David and his Texas ranch.

Democrats and Republicans have given perks to donors. That's nothing new.

But Pres. Obama promised to be different.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledge that during today's media briefing.

"What this President has done is institute the toughest ethics and transparency rules of any administration in history," Gibbs said.

He didn't stop there.

"The President believes strongly in transparency. If people can determine whether who is here, why they are here, for what course of business – transparency in that way is the best policy. There are people that gave money that the President has been personal friends with since they went to school. I don't think it makes a lot of sense to preclude somebody like that from coming here simply because they gave money. David Axelrod couldn't work here, if that were the case. He's a donor," Gibbs added.

Do you agree? Is the White House changing the way Washington works? We'll have the raw politics tonight.

We'll also bring you part two of our "Keeping them Honest" investigation on the your tax dollars being spent in the U.S. territory of American Samoa. When a devastating tsunami hit the island last month, the U.S. rushed to help – sending emergency equipment and manpower. But Drew Griffin of CNN's Special Investigations Unit found very little of that aids is reaching those in need. Who's to blame? See what he uncovered.

And how did it happen? How did a 15-year-old California girl get attacked outside her school after a homecoming dance and no one did anything to help her. Police say she was raped for more than two hours with as many as 20 people on the scene doing nothing to stop the attack. Tonight five people are in custody in connection with the rape. But what about the bystander who did nothing? Shouldn't they face charges. And where were school officials? Wait till you see what we uncovered.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10pm ET. See you then!


Filed under: Live Blog • The Buzz
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. ronvan

    Who would not love to spend a night or two in the white house? The problem is that if it was an ordinary citizen then Obama "haters" would be screaming that he is spending government money & treating the white house as a hotel. When those that can afford this it is because they are "contributing" monies to whatever party is in power. Why not, take those monies and put them in some kind of fund that would help someone that really needs it?

    October 29, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  2. yann Hidiroglou

    Let's get real. Look at history and you will find eventual weakness in our behaviours regardless of leaders promises . You will also find that these leaders close advisers are also getting special favours and use their positions to obtain gratuities.

    October 29, 2009 at 7:11 am |
  3. Tina

    I'm democrat but sometimes I have wonder if it makes any difference in some ways. Seems it doesn't matter which way you vote – both parties are messed up. Although I support a national healthcare, I have to wonder if the people they put in control would be pocketing all the money, like the corporate greed people? Everything bad is so disheartening in our world.

    October 29, 2009 at 2:37 am |
  4. Catherine Berryhill

    Can;t we please get some people in the whitehouse who really loves and cares for other people, and care nothing about star-power? My heart aches....Good day.++

    October 29, 2009 at 1:15 am |
  5. efrain

    well on the grants that us samoa is receiving to is not fair for the rest of the country family that cant aford day to day essentials like my family that looked into the grant program and have to pay a fee every month to benefit from our own grants that we dont have resources or skills to work the system in our own country.thats sad.

    October 29, 2009 at 12:35 am |
  6. Phil

    No, not new. Same type of politician, but worse than Clinton and Bush combined. I've never felt more like I have the government's hand in my pocket than I do now. This bologna that is going on now is just plain ridiculous. No one is for America, just for themselves or their party. How about some independent minded people doing what is best regardless of their personal political agenda.

    October 28, 2009 at 11:47 pm |
  7. shirley

    Sad to see that the only changes happening with President Obama at the helm is an increase in spending! Unbelievable. At least the media is making Americans aware of "some" of the waste of our tax money.

    October 28, 2009 at 11:42 pm |
  8. Cecil

    Some things don't change! We can only hope that the media will continue to report these type of facts so that Americans can know the truth about our government.

    October 28, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  9. Sue Lee

    I did not vote for Obama but wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt – well there is no doubt that he is no different than former presidents in not looking at fraud, abuse, and pork in the White House and as far as I can see there certainly has been no transparency and all I see is Republicans fighting Democrats and Democrats throwing a lot of criticism at the Republicans. Whats new???? Oh new, is how much his administration is spending – where do we get the money to pay all this back and we are throwing more at places like Somoa???

    October 28, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  10. Henya,

    President Obama is working on it all the time I also appreciate his effort's unfortunately we have narrow minded people that do not want any change so they will resist but for me our President is doing awesome, just today he singed the Hate Crime Law after12 years of tiring, all presidants do fund rasing this is not new or news to me,

    October 28, 2009 at 10:08 pm |
  11. Jeff Schroeffel (capdc)

    No matter your politics, you have to look at the ways bills are being written and signed behind closed doors and acknowledge that this administration only intends to give lip service to transparency.

    October 28, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  12. Annie Kate

    Doesn't sound like any change to how Washington does things on donors to me; in fact, it has shades of Blagovich, Chicago's former mayor whose fund-raising activities got him thrown out of office. I was a donor to the Democratic Party efforts during the campaign – where are my White House perks?? Seriously though, Obama doesn't seem much different so far from what we have had before – I wish he did.

    Looking forward to Drew's report on American Samoa – aid not reaching those who really need it is an old story that despite best efforts seems to repeat itself with each disaster. Looking forward to a good show.

    October 28, 2009 at 9:43 pm |