President Obama raised some eyebrows at an event on Monday when he said, "What I want to do is clear out the press so we can take some questions."
The president made the remark to members of the National Governors Association at the White House, The Washington Post's Erik Wemple reported. Wemple wrote, "Seems there’s a contest of sorts going on within the White House: Who can fashion the most Orwellian quote regarding open government?"
Members of the media have been asked to leave Obama's events before. In December, reporters had to clear the room when Obama started taking questions from CEOs during a meeting of the Business Roundtable.
The administration has come under especially heated criticism over press access in recent weeks. The White House press corps expressed "extreme frustration" over not being allowed to cover Obama on his golf outing with Tiger Woods last week. Press secretary later Jay Carney defended the administration, and Obama spoke off the record with reporters.
The administration's drone program has also raised concerns about transparency. On Sunday, former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs said, “When I went through the process of becoming press secretary, one of the things, one of the first things they told me was, ‘You’re not even to acknowledge the drone program. You’re not even to discuss that it exists.'”