Des Moines Register editor Rick Green and publisher Laura Hollingsworth talked with President Obama for a half-hour Tuesday morning, but their conference call — “an incredibly informative exchange of questions” — had to be off-the-record, the White House ruled.
We requested that the White House be asked to reverse course so whatever the president shared with us could be reviewed by voters and our readers.
No reason was given for the unusual condition of keeping it private.
We relented and took the call. How could we not? It’s the leader of the free world on line one.
Green told Obama spokesperson Erin Seidler that what the president said in their off-the-record talk “would have been well-received by not only his base, but also undecideds” and that “from a voter standpoint, keeping it off-the-record was a disservice.”
Green tells readers that the White House’s decision to keep the conversation secret “won’t play a factor in our board’s final endorsement decision” because “that would be petty and ridiculous.” The paper, which went with Obama in 2008, will publish its endorsement online at 7 p.m. Saturday and run it in Sunday’s paper.