The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Cast of Characters

White House releases visitor logs

Updated 8:53 p.m.
By Garance Franke-Ruta
In a move it is hailing as "transparency like you've never seen before," the White House on Friday released nearly 500 visitor records of individuals visiting the executive mansion between Inauguration Day and the end of July.

Many of the names appear, on first glance, to be boldface ones -- such as Michael Jordan, William Ayers, Michael Moore, Jeremiah Wright, Robert Kelly ("R. Kelly") and Malik Shabazz -- but the White House warned on its blog that these names in particular were "false positives."

"The well-known individuals with those names never actually came to the White House," wrote Norm Eisen, special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform.

Among those who showed up most often on the visitor logs are Service Employees International Union president Andrew Stern; John Podesta, who co-chaired President Obama's transition; and National Organization for Women president Kim Gandy.

Other names on the list were more straightforward and unmistakable, including Edward Kennedy, Thomas Daschle, Howard Dean and a certain Mr. Newton Gingrich.

The records reflect only those names that members of the public specifically requested information about from the White House Counsel's office and so is skewed in the direction of famous individuals who are a matter of public interest or controversy. The White House's comprehensive voluntary disclosure policy covers the period from Sept. 15, 2009 onwards, but not the earlier months of the administration.

Posted at 5:49 PM ET on Oct 30, 2009  | Category:  Cast of Characters
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Fighting crime, corruption and other evils that destroy our world is important. Putting in place structures to tighten corruption and nepotism is a cornerstone of true democracy. I support the politics of president Obama and I am sure he is going restore transparency and ethic that are lacking in politics, especially in places like the White House.
Go ahead folk, we support you.

Posted by: ndedialain | November 2, 2009 8:13 AM

How stupid we are as a country if we can't see that Obama is for Obama only. He is so corrupt and wants sole power of the United States. Yeah, Obama said he is not going to pull the plug on Grandma. What he is not telling you is that he won't plug Grandma in. His whole administration is the core of communisim. Hate Bush if you want, I didn't vote for Bush either, but neither do I want socialism and communism in this country. Don't believe me if you don't want too, but hold on to your freedom is you can. The worst is yet to come.

Posted by: mzha | November 1, 2009 8:19 AM

i hope they all had a good time on our dime. obummer has already spent more of our money then all the other pres put togather and we only have 3 more years to go god help us.

Posted by: badz34 | October 31, 2009 3:19 PM

I am sorta surprised he has actually stayed put long enough to meet anyone!

What is the current number of Foreign excursions at this point?



Not to even mention all the trips all around the US!

The ever-campaigning Manchurian Teleprompter!


Impeach them ALL!

Posted by: SAINT---The | October 31, 2009 2:15 PM

It is shamefully interesting to read the pabulum eaters praise and defend Sotoro's cadre of admitted Marxists and known untried criminals being rewarded with White House visits.

Much like the Nobel Committee further cheapening the Honors(?)for achievement not even done, the White house becomes an American image below that of a common Brothel.

Posted by: wsteinard | October 31, 2009 8:49 AM

And you, KLTLUVRLT1, are demonstrably either (a) illiterate, or (b) literally blinded by incoherent (and unsupported) Obama derangement. Read the article again--move your lips if it helps--we won't tell; or get someone who knows how to read it to you: those names were untrue entries.

Posted by: hongdb | October 31, 2009 7:07 AM

Re Visits to the White House. Excuse me, I thought it was his home for the next 4 years, hopefully 8. His family has friends, some of those friends were suporters. Wouldn't you invite a friend to dine and stay at your home especially if it was The White House. I would invite someone just to impress them too.

Posted by: eopage2 | October 31, 2009 3:39 AM

Wow! How interesting a list it is: William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright - both of them were thrown under the bus by Obama during the election campaign. Malik Shabazz, Angela Davis, R. Kelly, Michael Moore, George Soros, and Martin Lawrence, were not allowed to be photographed with Obama. Robert Gibbs, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, and David Plouffe, are straight out of the cesspool of Chicago dirty politics -- and Barack Obama is a sneaky hypocrite.

Posted by: KLTLUVRLT1 | October 31, 2009 2:45 AM

There are a few other folks who've said this, but it bears repeating:

Why are people so nasty about this list's publication? It's not terribly exciting because Pres Obama did not have any axe murderers or hookers visit him, but I appreciate the President's willingness to make this information public.

As I recall, the last POTUS spent most of his time on his ranch in Texas and would not allow a lady protesting the war that killed her son to set up her protest where he (W-43) might see her as he was driven in and out of the ranch.

Posted by: saoirse | October 31, 2009 2:03 AM

No, this is not "transparency like I've never seen before." "Transparency like I've never seen before" would be Obama calling for a bipartisan independent investigatory Commission to review our policies and practices in the War on Terror. That would, as Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr. said in the Restoring The Rule of Law hearing held by Feingold's Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, "reveal the many as-yet-unknown aspects of what our government has done and how it evaluated or rationalized its actions" in the war on Terror. It would reveal secret programs (see my website at that haven't been revealed, yet. But unlike Feingold who with his subcommittee, with his Justice Act, seems determined to restore the rule of law in America - the Obama presidency says one thing and then continues Bush's surveillance policy and other War on Terror policies.

Posted by: constitutionlady | October 31, 2009 1:28 AM

If it were not for the fact that right wing conformist fools have driven and are continuing to drive political discourse in our beloved nation into a Fox News alternate universe where right wing lies and liars poison every discussion while feeling sorry for themselves, the reaction of the right wing echo chamber would be funny.

But right wing means being a conformist with a closed mind and a set of facts that he memorized from his masters, Fatso the Drug Addict Family Values Multi-Divorced no father non husband hedonist swinging ugly dogs-butt faced 60 year old bachelor and the world's biggest sissy Sean "here is my lunch money don't hit me!" Hannity.

Right wingers weep over every lie they tell themselves and they are destroying all concepts of honor, truth, and manhood. Thank God Right Wingers in the Media don't have children. We dodged a bullet when Fatso and Ann Manly Adam's Apple didn't spawn.

Hanity and Beck might someday have a child together if they can decide who gets to weep more while the baby is being born.

The right disgraces itself over and over.

Posted by: wapoisrightwingrag | October 31, 2009 1:14 AM

Despite reports to the contrary, Obama is not the Devil's spawn; the number 666 is not tattooed on his butt; he isn't Hitler, Stalin or Mao; Obama is not a socialist, communist, fascist or scientologist; Bush was not a sacred man compared to him; blah, blah, blah. Israel is not evil. Russia, Iran, China, N. Korea are not going to nuke us tomorrow. And, finally, Obama was not born on Mars. So, here's a completely radical (and probably unrealistic) idea: Let's chill out.

Posted by: StaggoLee | October 31, 2009 12:27 AM

It is sad to see so many comments praising the so called transperency. Get real people this is not the transperency we expected. Next transperency report will be how many times he takes a bath. Come on. Transperency would be releasing documents that will prove without a shadow of a doubt that the President meets all the qualifications to sit as the President of the United States. This would be the beginning of true transperency.

Posted by: ElNat | October 30, 2009 11:59 PM

Great job Obama! More transparency than we ever got before. I love the selective memory of the Republikkkans who forget that Bush/Cheney never released anything on who visited their white house. Obama could cure cancer and these people would somehow find something wrong with it!

Posted by: cravermi | October 30, 2009 11:47 PM

Hey, check out how sweet some of these comments are! Too many Americans are downright nasty, doubtfull, and angry. Thankfully these folks are in the minority!

The ancient Greeks had it correct: "We see things not as they are but as we are."

Posted by: pwilliams2 | October 30, 2009 11:24 PM

After reading the above posts I question the facts that anyone really sees what is going on within our country. Obama is just a puppet bought and sold by the Democrat hierarchy. He has never ran so much as a Dairy Queen and "HE" is going to fix what is wrong in our country? We should be more afraid of the very people we have elected to both the Senate and H.R.'s as they are being led by the party to which they belong. NONE OF THEM COULD DO WHAT IS RIGHT IF THEIR VERY LIFE DEPENDED ON IT! I for one will be voting for people who have not already been in office. Vote out the old and elect the new. By the way Obama was in the senate and accomplished virtually nothing in that capacity. He played the game that they all play. Get re-elected and suck up the pay, benefits, and other graff you can get while you can get it. I have no faith in ANY of our elected officials. Our country is being sold out piece by piece and the morals and beliefs it was founded on are being urinated on in our very faces and we continue to vote in these same dolts to represent us. Handouts should not dictate who we vote for to lead our country!
Transparency is a joke with all the parties at this time and point.

Posted by: jake91760 | October 30, 2009 10:21 PM

Lie, Lies, Lies!!

False Positives; This a lie itself.

Posted by: vangup | October 30, 2009 10:16 PM

This is not releasing anything of importance to the American people. And the pretending press won't look into it and I don't blame them. The White House staff, having acknowledged that there were "false positives" put it over on everyone and they are probably out this even laughing their a**es off that they pulled off such a giant Halloween joke. My compliments to the staff -- my disappointment is sent to Noobama.

Posted by: hairlessbear | October 30, 2009 10:10 PM

I have never heard such whining as these Neocons put out. The Burden of Democracy is too much for them to bear with Obama as President. Do they think it was any lighter for us Libs when the Five in Black Robes gave the decisive majority for GWB?

The difference being that the Neocons learned that they can tell lies about WMD, about being born in the USA and about who outed the CIA agent and still get their way.

Posted by: llnstoner | October 30, 2009 9:52 PM

The headline should have read "White House releases **a few** visitor logs!"

Posted by: Three3 | October 30, 2009 9:13 PM

Its sad that NOTHING Obama does is ever good enough. It amazes me that he's critizied for visiting Dover, releasing visitor logs, trying to land the Olympics, winnng the Nobel Peace Prize, etc. He's only been in office for less than 9 months. Lets give him a chance. WE sure were patient with Bush. We even gave him the benefit of the doubt on WMD's and Iraq. Lets try to work together and find some common ground. I'm beginning to become cynical with the American people. I really am losing faith in our ability to work together for the common good.

Posted by: wmaceo | October 30, 2009 9:13 PM

Will we finally get to see Cheney's visitor list for his 'energy policy' meetings? We may not get to know what was said but we should at LEAST get to know who was in the room.

Posted by: jimjohnd | October 30, 2009 9:10 PM

That's a start but...what about all of the people who visited the White House from the day he took office? And what about who he has conversations/meetings with outside of the White House and who he talks to, texts or gets messages from on his unmonitored "Blackberry"? This administration is the least transparent of any during my lifetime--65 years.

Posted by: 4heyjude | October 30, 2009 9:05 PM

Oh Lord, Hannity is going to have a field day with the very first name listed. I hope he goes mad talking about ad nauseum. .

Posted by: AverageJane | October 30, 2009 8:50 PM

Transparancy on visitor logs being heralded as a great thing? Is this a joke?
Posted by: jtsgrandmom

Yeah for those who were secretive like Cheney, it is a joke.

Transparency is a great thing, it makes people like you look like that hateful racists that you really are.

Posted by: HumanSimpleton | October 30, 2009 8:48 PM

"transparency like you've never seen before"

Shameful gimmickry. Stimulus was supposed to be online, healthcare bill was supposed to be written in open, long drawn and fruitless ethics investigations, hiding academic records and original birth certificate, secretive bailouts, unaccounted and fraudulent stimulus spending...and the list goes on. States like Texas, which put up every check the state spends online are light years ahead of the "hope-n-change" faith brigade.

Posted by: NoWeCant

I am indeed appalled that you live in a country where they do not have the Internet.

Oh, and Texas *is* using this stimulus thingy just like EVERY other Republican state.

(Bet the idiot NoWeCant only looks and comments on the first page)

Posted by: HumanSimpleton | October 30, 2009 8:46 PM

Transparancy on visitor logs being heralded as a great thing? Is this a joke? How about transparancy behind the closed door health retricted care abomination ?

Oh. Nevermind, Obamaites', liberal lemmings, Administration apologists trust, no need to verify.

Posted by: jtsgrandmom | October 30, 2009 8:29 PM

I think the onion nails the opposition pretty well:

you people have no credibility. whatever Obama does doesn't really matter to you, you'll attack him just the same.

Posted by: mikem1 | October 30, 2009 8:26 PM

William Ayers, Michael Moore, Jeremiah Wright, etc are 'false positives'?

What the hell is a 'false positive' on a visitor log? Either the person visited the White House and logged in or didn't.

These are the people in charge of security for the country?

Of course, not one so-called 'journalist' bothered to follow-up on any of that because every article I've seen regurgitates the ridiculous 'false positive' excuse from the White House and not one lemming seeks any clarification of what it means.

Perhaps the journalists were too busy fact-checking SNL or chasing reality stars to bother.

Posted by: klick99 | October 30, 2009 8:25 PM

It is exactly as what the article says. This is the most transparent WH in history. President Obama has by far the most open and transparent administration in history. What a breath of fresh air and stark contrast from the lying, secretive, civil liberties eroding Bush, Cheney, Rove and the republicans for the previous 10 years. The Bush administration outed a CIA agent...Valerie Plame. It was released today that Cheney in fact, lied to the court in his testimony.

Posted by: vintel7 | October 30, 2009 8:17 PM

Ok so I looked at the list of people.. and am trying to figure out why all the negative remarks.. or is it if he wipes his head it is the wrong thing to do..

Posted by: nightlighter | October 30, 2009 8:15 PM

WILLIAM AYERS, JEREMIAH WRIGHT are both on the list. False positive indeed!

Posted by: mharwick | October 30, 2009 8:11 PM

Dig, dig, dig, nose, nose, nose, look for something, anything, gotta get this guy. You people are sick!

Posted by: beaone | October 30, 2009 8:10 PM

I really don't think that was where the American public expected the transparency Mr. President.

If that was indeed what you meant when you promised transparency in your administration, during your campaign, you have succeeded in fooling us with semantics yet again!!

Posted by: OregonStorm | October 30, 2009 8:00 PM

So who did you nice people want to see? I think someone is a little nosy. Bush didn't release anything. I feel he thumbed his nose at you and nothing said. Go to your elected official and request a visit with the President or get a life.

Posted by: gwenola1 | October 30, 2009 7:48 PM

georgejones wrote>>>What a stinking disappointment Obama has turned out to be as president.

Really? you must have been living in a cave during the previous 8 years.
Whenever I'm disappointed in Obama, I merely remember the 8 HORRIFIC YEARS of Bush & Cheney - and smile.

Posted by: angie12106 | October 30, 2009 7:47 PM

Let me get this straight, you jokers want them to hire/pay staff just to post names of visitors to the White House, even though people don't always sign in with their real names - and this is a good use of tax payer money??? Personally think this is a waste of time and money and you people need to get a life!

Posted by: skimom27 | October 30, 2009 7:44 PM

Hey the last president did not do this, so stop whining about something he did not have to do.

Posted by: Nymous | October 30, 2009 7:41 PM

Working as a Cop
when I worked in the front, I am led to believe by this story that our guest list is 1000X more important then the White House.

Its so sad its funny-So if some jokester came in Be it the Chiefs brother. He writed R Kelly The Pedofile--If the 2 ID's don't match the name & face--U no can come in comprendo??

Posted by: ODOIT2003 | October 30, 2009 7:37 PM

Nice.....his long time friends get to visit.

Posted by: njtou | October 30, 2009 7:25 PM

I laughed at "transparency like you've never seen before" and was immediately reminded of the promises on the old Stan Lee/Jack Kirby/Steve Ditko Marvel Comics covers of the 60's and 70's, the ones that would promise "Not a hoax! Not a dream! In this issue, a major CHARACTER DIES!" You'd buy and read, only to find the dead character on the last page: Spider-Man's mailman or someone like that.

"Transparency like you've never seen before!!" would look right at home splashed across the top of a comic book cover: exciting and full of promise, but ultimately unsatisfying.

Posted by: Andy_Bham_AL | October 30, 2009 6:50 PM

What a stinking disappointment Obama has turned out to be as president.

Posted by: georgejones5 | October 30, 2009 6:49 PM

Get a grip people.

Of course the only names they have are whatever names visitors' signed in as.

So some people in White House tour groups thought it would be funny to sign with famous, sometimes politically controversial, names.

The list is an accurate reflection of what people signed in as. Any inaccuracies were not caused by the White House.

Posted by: slr-me | October 30, 2009 6:47 PM

Weak sauce. There have to be hundreds of visitors to the White House daily. And what does the White House release? The very few records that members of the public have asked for by name.

How hard would it have been for the White House to be *truly* transparent from the word go? This is hypocrisy at its best: claiming transparency while releasing an intentionally trivial and unrepresentative dataset.

I hope the White House finally makes good on their promise to release *all* visitor logs starting in December. But it's disappointing they didn't do it today.

Posted by: DupontJay | October 30, 2009 6:37 PM

I went to the White House web site and cannot download the list. You have to submit a name and they will let you know if they visited. Transparency my hind quarters!!!

Posted by: thelaw1 | October 30, 2009 6:29 PM

Bizarre, So the list is inaccurate? It makes no sense to release a list of visitors that has no basis in reality.

Posted by: thelaw1 | October 30, 2009 6:23 PM

"transparency like you've never seen before"

Shameful gimmickry. Stimulus was supposed to be online, healthcare bill was supposed to be written in open, long drawn and fruitless ethics investigations, hiding academic records and original birth certificate, secretive bailouts, unaccounted and fraudulent stimulus spending...and the list goes on. States like Texas, which put up every check the state spends online are light years ahead of the "hope-n-change" faith brigade.

Posted by: NoWeCant | October 30, 2009 6:22 PM

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