White House pressed on lack of press for Obama moment of silence

The White House will not allow members of the media to observe President Obama's moment of silence on Tuesday for the victims of last year's Boston Marathon bombings, drawing a protest from members of the White House press corps.

Obama's observation, which will come at 2:49 p.m., will come in the middle of a meeting with senior advisers in the Oval Office.

Associated Press White House correspondent Julie Pace pressed spokesman Jay Carney over the exclusion of reporters at his regular briefing. Pace said it was "clearly a newsworthy anniversary, and we think it's appropriate to have independent media coverage of the president on that anniversary."

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

Carney also said that the White House in the past had offered to allow a single photographer to come to a private moment but that members of the press corps had rejected that request.

"There's been occasion in situations like this when we have suggested that a single photographer could come, representing the independent media and pool it, and that has been rejected by your news organization and others because they don't like the competitive disadvantage," Carney said. "So that goes to one side of the argument but not the one that has to do with access of the free press."

Later, Carney was asked why the president's schedule wasn't altered to provide better press access to the moment.

"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?" Carney asked.

"I guess the point is the president's having a moment of silence. It's ... in the Oval Office," he added. "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." 

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