Morning Joe | March 05, 2013
>> society. yeah. the obama administration is fighting back against charges that access to the president is being sold to the highest bidders by a new advocacy organization with close ties to the white house . "the new york times" first reported that people who donated at least half a million dollars to the nonprofit group organizing for action, the direct offspring of president obama 's outfit, obama for america , would be granted quarterly meeting with the president. yesterday -- and watch this. white house press secretary jay carney disputed the allegation and defended the white house 's involvement with the group.
>> any notion that there's a set price for a meeting with the president of the united states is just wrong. as you know, organizing for action was set up to promote the president's public policy agenda. therefore, as anyone would expect, the president would likely meet with their representatives to discuss his agenda. again, any notion there's a price for meeting with the president is simply wrong. the bottom line here is this is a separate organization, as we've noted. the existence of which is a perfectly appropriate and the white house will engage with it consistent with the way we engage with a whole host of outside constituencieconstituencies.
>> that's fascinating. he was reading the whole thing. you think they're a little lawyered up on the whole thing?
>> i think it needs to be looked at more.
>> steve, what's going on there? as reported by "the new york times," it's cash for access.
>> look at the dna of the embryonic obama movement was the notion we're going to do things different in washington. listening to it, it remind me of earlier in my career. we had all manner of organizations like this fronted by tom delay where we would sell access, where people would come in, have an opportunity, meet the congressional leadership. it's absolutely no different. but it's totally disdent from what the president said he was going to do when he ran for office.
>> politicians have been doing this for years.
>> jay carney also tried to put a little daylight between the white house and organizing for america, which is not the way it was conceived originally. yesterday he tried to say there was some separation there and there was no direct link , but it was supposed to be a place where policy was developed and the message was delivered to the white house .
>> history of the obama operation is if they have the financial advantage, they take advantage of it.
>> about this group, besides the question of access, is they're taking corporate contributions. that's a big change.
>> why are they doing this? why would the president -- it just seems like he's making his life more complicated politically. why would he do this?
>> i think they want to take the strength of their grassroots operation, their access to money, and try to marry them up so he can succeed in the midterms. so he can do in the last two years of his second term what he did in the first two years of his first term. they think the only way to do that is fight the chamber of commerce , fight corporate money.
>> i'm not shocked by it. it's just pretty -- not shocked by the practice because it's how washington's run forever. i'm just very surprised, as you pointed out. even taking corporate money to do this. we're a long, long way