POLITICS: PennAve

White House defends closed press Obama moment of silence

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,PennAve,Meghashyam Mali,Jay Carney,Boston Marathon Bombing,Press Freedom,Boston

The White House on Tuesday downplayed the controversy over media access to President Obama, who will hold a moment of silence to mark the Boston Marathon bombing anniversary in the Oval Office without the press.

The president and aides will observe the anniversary of the deadly attack behind closed doors at 2:29 p.m., exactly one year after two pressure cookers packed with shrapnel detonated near the finish line of the raise.

“The president's going to have a moment of silence in the Oval Office. There will be some senior advisers there,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney, adding that the tribute was coming “during the course of a meeting.”

Carney was pressed on why the president was not allowing media access to the moment of silence.

“We certainly think that the moment is important, but it is mostly important in Boston,” he said.

Carney said that the White House had offered to let a single photographer cover the event, but that had been rejected by news organizations, who wanted broader independent access.

He also dismissed comparisons with the annual public tributes on 9/11, saying that those events have been “traditionally outside.”

Obama has attended public 9/11 memorials in both New York City and at the Pentagon.

“The news is in Boston today,” Carney added later.

Four people were killed in the bombings and during the subsequent manhunt for the suspects.

Earlier Tuesday, the president paid tribute to the victims and to those who rushed to aid the wounded in a written statement and Vice President Joe Biden delivered remarks at a memorial in Boston.

“We also know that the most vivid Images from that day were not of smoke and chaos, but of compassion, kindness and strength,” said Obama.

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