- The Washington Times - Friday, January 16, 2015

President Obama — who famously promised when he took office in 2009 to bring about an “unprecedented level of openness in government” — has headed off to Baltimore for a retreat with Democrats with one special caveat: No press allowed.

Newsmax reported that in previous years, the Democrats have let in some members of the media. But this year, none are allowed — though some topics of discussion have sneaked into the public arena. The Hill reported that the politicos will be discussing Mr. Obama’s latest proposal — to use tax dollars to pay for community college — as well as the housing market, corporate tax reform and infrastructure spending.

Mr. Obama is also poised to talk about the terrorism attacks in Paris, Newsmax reported.

But the public at-large won’t learn the specifics of what’s to be discussed.

“Some of that’s because the president wants to spend some time talking about the State of the Union address,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest, Newsmax reported.

Republican lawmakers at a retreat in Hershey, Pennsylvania, didn’t let the press in, either — but it was Mr. Obama who famously vowed to open the federal government to the American public.

In a memo issued the day after he was inaugurated, Mr. Obama wrote, The New York Times reported: “The government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.”

He also told voters the he would bring an “unprecedented level of openness in government” to Washington, D.C., The New York Times reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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