Obama Transparency Scaled Back… as to Wine

When British Prime Minister David Cameron visits President Barack Obama this week, one detail may stay bottled up: the labels on the wines the White House pours at the state dinner tomorrow night.

For Obama’s first three state dinners, honoring the leaders of India, Mexico and China, the White House released the name, year and appellation of wines — all-American — paired with each course.

Part of a tradition observed by previous presidents, including George W. Bush, that disclosure stopped after Obama’s dinner last year for Chinese President Hu Jintao. One of the wines served on Jan. 19, 2011, was a top-rated 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington state that originally sold for $115 a bottle and went for as much as $399 by the time of the dinner. The price the White House paid per bottle was not made public.

At the next state dinner, on June 7, 2011, for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the menu made public by the White House didn’t include details on the wines.

via Businessweek.

It’s national sunshine day, or week, or something.  In order to celebrate the White House decided that it was releasing too much information, a/k/a not sending the right kind of message in these tough economic times, when it came to the wine list.


3 thoughts on “Obama Transparency Scaled Back… as to Wine”

  1. Having lived in wine country much of my adult life, and knowing quite a few top winemakers- let me tell you something. The white house is, and has been for years- on the “in list”. They pre-purchase cases (and cases) of wine- sometimes years in advance- at prices well below the “retail” prices you quote.

    And why has the Obama administration stopped releasing the names- for exactly the reason of your post. The white house pays 1/4-1/10th, and in some cases 1/50th of the top retail prices the right will rant about. And they know damn well it’s a public relations nightmare- the right will find the absolute highest price paid and rant about it- and even though the price paid by the white house is a tiny fraction of that price- by the time they deal with all the paperwork and man hours to refute the lies…well- the cost ends up soaring.

    So stop being disingenuous. The white house has always, as it should- served something better the McDonalds or the Olive Garden. And it has never been an issue until a N****** got elected president.

    1. WTF Drugs? Me thinks you got a bad bag dude.

      You agree that the premise of the story is correct: that the appearance of paying high prices for wine create a PR problem. Ok. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to simply say:

      We’re proud that when the White House places an American wine on it’s list that others express a great deal of interest in that wine. We’re happy to be able to showcase the rich and vibrant American wine industry. Lastly, the administration is confident that the media and the public understand that the White House does not pay the inflated prices that occur after we have already made our purchase.

      Wouldn’t that be a much better solution to the problem than simply being opaque on sunshine day.

      Further, I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I have no beef whatsoever with the president taking vacations, going to see a show in New York, or entertaining in the White House. Being president may be the worst job in the world. If he (or she) wants to throw a party so be it. And agreed, you can’t serve Boones Farm at a state dinner.

      As for the rest of your comment, it’s never been an issue before, it shouldn’t be an issue now. Race has nothing to do with it.

    2. Indeed- it would be better to say that. But in the current political climate it’s just not possible.

      While the truth may be the white house is paying 10-25 cents on the dollar of normal retail when the wine is released, the right is running with stories about the 10X to 25X that price a bottle is going for after it is sold out.

      The sad truth is Obama is being attacked on issues that have never controversial with another president, and not only has the right been willing to twist the “facts”- their followers have been more then happy to swallow the lies and repeat them over and over until they become a “truth”

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