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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Shinseki Not a Frequent Visitor to Obama White House



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Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki is on the hot seat in Washington right now. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank tore into Shinseki’s testimony from last week, concluding, “If Obama wants to resolve this VA debacle, he’ll need a less passive secretary.”

Shinseki, who became secretary in January 2009, is not a frequent visitor to the Obama White House. He visited the White House 33 times, according to official visitor logs, roughly one visit for every two months of his time in that position.

That’s less than some cabinet officials with higher-profile jobs. According to the logs, Attorney General Eric Holder visited 70 times. Hillary Clinton visited the White House 45 times (she was secretary of state for four years, as opposed to Shinseki’s five-and-a-half as VA secretary). The name of Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, appears 30 times.

Some outside the administration visited the White House more frequently. “Democratic super-lobbyist” Anthony (Tony) Podesta appears in the White House visitor logs 36 times. The name of Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio who is expected to be President Obama’s next nominee to be secretary of housing and urban development, appears in White House visitor logs 34 times.

Hilary Rosen, lobbyist, appears in the White House visitor logs 59 times. Of course, White House press secretary Jay Carney suggested this may refer to more than one person; he said he personally knows three Hilary Rosens. (An amazing coincidence that all three Hilary Rosens would end up visiting the White House so frequently!)

George Clooney visited the White House seven times.


Tags: Eric Shinseki , Barack Obama


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