This is the story of how the vice president's staff stuck a reporter in a closet. Last Wednesday, Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Powers showed up at a private home in Florida to cover a Democratic fundraiser for Senator Bill Nelson. Joe Biden was scheduled to speak at this event, which would prove unfortunate for Powers. A Biden staffer met him at the door and told him he'd have to wait in a holding area until the Vice President arrived and made his speech. So Powers went to the holding area, which turned out to be a closet.
"I called it a closet, because it was stuffed with shelves, boxes, baskets and other items in storage, and it felt like a closet," Powers explained in a blog post last night. "The vice president’s office called it a room used for storage."
Whatever you call it, that's where Powers spent the next hour. Occasionally he'd stick his head out, and a staffer would tell him that he still had to wait. Eventually the veep showed up, and Powers was let out to listen to Biden's remarks and make notes. Then, says Powers, he was "led back to the little room to wait until they left, about 15 more minutes," before the team led him back to his car.
Powers took a picture while in the closet, and sent it to his editor. It doesn't seem like he sustained serious damage during his time in holding. He says he was "impatient and annoyed" at the time, but Biden's press secretary later e-mailed him and apologized. (According to Powers, she said that "the choice of rooms was a screw-up by an inexperienced staffer and would never happen again.") Within a few days, Powers says, he'd "pretty much forgotten all about the event and moved on."
Not the blogosphere, though! Moe Lane at RedState writes that this incident is sympomatic of a wider problem with the Obama administration: they're "generally slapdash and heedless about the effects of their actions on others." Right-leaning blog Weasel Zippers dove into "Biden's history of stifling Orlando reporters," connecting the Powers incident to a 2008 flap where Biden's wife Jill canceled an interview with an Orlando news program because they'd asked Joe some hostile questions the day before. Fox News writes that Powers was "locked" in the closet (not true), and Pajamas Media reports that Powers was "imprisoned." Blogger The Lonely Conservative sums it up thus: "What a horrible way to treat another human being."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.