PORT ST LUCIE, Florida - White House correspondents on Sunday complained that political reporters were denied access to President Barack Obama on a weekend he played golf with superstar Tiger Woods.
"Speaking on behalf of the White House Correspondents Association, I can say a broad cross section of our members from print, radio, online and TV have today expressed extreme frustration to me about having absolutely no access to the President of the United States this entire weekend," said the association's president Ed Henry, of CNN television.
"There is a very simple but important principle we will continue to fight for today and in the days ahead: transparency," he stressed, adding that the fact that a golfing correspondent had been inside the exclusive course sending tweets and giving television interviews had added to the pool members' frustration.
Obama played a round with Woods on Sunday, crowning a buddies golf trip with his long-awaited first match-up with the former world number one, but the pool of journalists travelling with him, including an AFP reporter and photographer, were not allowed onto the course.
The US president was spending a long weekend at a luxury resort in Florida and on Saturday took lessons from legendary coach Butch Harmon, before meeting up with the golfing icon for Sunday's round.
The White House brushed off reporters' gripes.
"The press access granted by the White House today is entirely consistent with the press access offered for previous presidential golf outings. It's also consistent with the press access promised to the White House Press Corps prior to arrival in Florida on Friday evening," said White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
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