02/19/2013 01:40 pm ET Updated Apr 21, 2013

Jay Carney Defends Level Of White House Access To Reporters (VIDEO)

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White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the level of access that journalists have with the Obama administration during his Tuesday press briefing.

The White House press corps has complained repeatedly in recent days that the administration is not nearly transparent enough. One veteran even said the amount of access was a "disgrace"

On Tuesday, Fox News reporter Ed Henry, who has led the complaints in his role as president of the White House Correspondents' Association, asked about whether or not reporters would be able to question Obama in the next few days.

"When the president meets with the Japanese prime minister, will the White House press corps actually be able to come in and ask questions?" Henry asked.

"I am completely sympathetic, having covered two White Houses, to the difficulties of the job of covering any White House and to the desire for more and more access," Carney said. "We work every day with you and others to provide that, and we will continue to do that."

He said that Obama has done many more solo news conferences than George W. Bush, and many more one-on-one interviews.

"The president's given 591 interviews since he took office," he said. "I think it is clear that we are making an effort to provide access, to make sure that the president is being questioned by reporters and anchors and others, and we will continue to do that."

Carney also said that he had been frustrated with the Bush and Clinton administrations when he was a reporter, and that he doubted any White House journalist had ever been wholly satisfied with the level of access they received.

"When I covered President Clinton there were periods of immense frustration," he said. "This is not uncommon ... we are working every day to provide the kind of access that we believe is an essential part of what you do."

"Did the events of this weekend make you rethink the levels of transparency in this administration?" NBC's Kristen Welker asked.

"You mean the events of this weekend that the president wanted to play golf with a golf pro?" Carney shot back.

"I understand that there was some desire to have access," he continued. "The first official confirmation ... was from the White House press office. We don't control everybody who's around ... no reporter had any access that was different from the White House press corps."



White House Reporters