President Obama granted NBC access to the White House Situation Room for an interview about the killing of Osama bin Laden that will air on the anniversary of bin Laden’s death, Politico reports:
The interview, which will air on Rock Center with Brian Williams on May 2, comes at the one-year anniversary of bin Laden’s killing, an event the Obama campaign is touting in a new ad that goes after Mitt Romney.
“One year ago, they brought down Bin Laden. Now, for the first time, the main players are talking — only to Brian Williams,” a 15-second promo of the interview, which aired this morning on the Today show, said. “Exclusive access inside the situation room. Rock Center, Wednesday, 9/8 Central on NBC.”
White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest resisted questions regarding rumors of the interview this morning, as well as the suggestion that Obama was politicizing Bin Laden’s killing by holding an interview in the Situation Room.
It is not the first time the Obama White House has opened the Situation Room up to the media, however.
Senior White House adviser David Axelrod allowed New York Times reporters to shadow him for a profile piece in 2009, including a trip to the Situation Room.
Later that year, Axelrod and then-press secretary Robert Gibbs were seen in photos in the room meeting over Afghanistan policy. According to Politico, the bleed over between politics and policy outraged former Bush White House staff:
Throughout the Bush administration, liberal critics warned that the hand of Bush political adviser Karl Rove was spreading politics into all corners of government. Reporters were on alert for any sign that politics was infecting the work of federal agencies. One top appointee got in hot water for allegedly asking agency officials to work to “help our candidates” across the country.
So some Bush aides went nearly apoplectic earlier this month when they spotted Gibbs and Obama’s political guru, David Axelrod, in photos of a Situation Room meeting on Afghanistan policy.
“Oh, the howling and screaming that would have happened if Karl Rove was sitting in on even a deputies-level meeting where strategy was being hammered out. People would have just gone ballistic,” said Peter Feaver, a former White House aide for both Bush and Bill Clinton.
When Jay-Z and Beyonce visited the White House in 2010, the couple was photographed inside the Situation Room–an occasional perk for special visitors, one White House aide told CNN.