Friday, July 31, 2009

No Free Lunch at the White House


The day after Obama hosted prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley by giving out free beers, report comes out that four CEOs had lunch with Obama at the White House last month but they had to pay for their lunch.



"Four of the most powerful business leaders in America arrived at the White House one day last month for lunch with President Barack Obama, sitting down in his private dining room just steps from the Oval Office.

Around the table with Barack Obama that afternoon were Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox Corporation; Muhtar Kent, CEO of The Coca-Cola Company; AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson; and Honeywell International CEO Dave Cote.

But even for powerful CEOs, there’s no such thing as a free lunch: White House staffers collected credit card numbers for each executive and carefully billed them for the cost of the meal with the president.

The White House defended the unusual move as a way to avoid conflicts of interest. But the Bush administration didn’t charge presidential guests for meals, one former official said, and at least one etiquette expert found the whole thing unseemly – suggesting it was a serious breach of protocol."


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