Dana Perino: Reporters 'Shocked' by Press Restrictions at Obama White House
Former Press Secretary Dana Perino revealed that press restrictions in the Obama White House “shocked” reporters who complained about access under President George W. Bush.
“Reporters after I left the White House, they were shocked by the changes that happened almost immediately under the Obama administration because it was felt quickly.”
Perino noted that the photographers suffered the most under the new administration, which she found puzzling.
“The easiest thing to do as a White house Press Secretary is let the photographers in to take a picture, and the thing about President Obama is he never ever takes a bad picture,” she said.
Perino made her remarks during a Sirius/XM interview with host Julie Mason on the SiriusXM’s Leading Ladies Townhall Series on the POTUS channel. The full interview airs on Friday at 3:00, 5:00, 9:00 and 11:00.
Perino said she was “alarmed” when President Obama shot basketball hoops with female athletes and the press pool and photographers were not allowed into the event.
Later, she noted, the White House videographer released a video of Obama playing basketball.
“Guess what? He never missed a shot,” Perino noted, “And I thought, this is how you lose a free press.”
When she worked at the White House under Bush, Perino said that both the President and the First Lady expected White House staff to treat every reporter as guests in their home.
“Even if the guest is so rude, and you want to strangle the guest, still my instruction to my staff was to be nice,” she joked.
Perino said that she did “some permanent damage” to her health at the White House.
“If I had to go back and do it again I would be more responsible,” she said.
Perino will be releasing a book in May 2015 featuring a “candid self-portrait” of her career.