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Was White House behind Chamber of Commerce hoax at National Press Club? Kudlow wondered

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been making headlines lately -- and losing members -- over its adamant opposition to climate change legislation that is backed by the Obama administration.

So Monday, a group of pranksters sent out a press release on the Chamber's letterhead announcing that the powerful business lobbying group had changed its mind and would be holding a press conference to trumpet the new position. Halfway through the presser, they were interrupted by a real staffer from the Chamber, who exposed the fraud. Take a look.


CNBC's Larry Kudlow asked if the White House was behind the hoax.

No, this was strictly a rogue operation. But it is true that the White House has been trying to undercut the Chamber's standing lately as a monolithic voice for business interests.

In a stroke of personal diplomacy, Obama has invited small groups of CEOs to his private White House dining room. And, reports the Washington Post, he has dispatched top aides Valerie Jarrett and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to corporate boardrooms. Since the summer, the three have met with some of the biggest names in the business community, including the heads of IBM, Wal-Mart Stores, Time Warner, Eastman Kodak, Starbucks, Amazon.com and Coca-Cola.

So maybe that's why the hoax played, at least for a bit. And the group responsible, who call themselves the Yes Men, didn't even have a balloon.

-- Johanna Neuman

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Comments () | Archives (3)

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I wouldn't put anything past this administration! I don't believe anything they say anymore. Congressman Joe Wilson was correct, "You Lie"! Look at the number of tax cheats, and Pelosi refused to do anything about Charlie Rankle. She's probably every bit as dishonest! I pay my taxes but you Mr. elected Representative are not required to --- it's one of your perks!

I don't understand. This article states that

"the White House has been trying to undercut the Chamber's standing lately as a monolithic voice for business interests."

... and in the next sentance that Obama has been inviting small groups of Chamber of Commerce members over for dinner. Undercutting an organization in public, then being polite in private, doesn't seem like diplomacy to me. It sounds more like Obama failed to bully the C of C and has switched to a divide and conquer strategy. What am I missing?

I don't have a position on climate change, or on the US Department of Commerce so this is not a political question but more a legal one. Was this fake press conference, and more interestingly the announcement they sent out to the press and news organizations using official US Department of Commerce stationary and logos?

For me (regardless of what side of the climate debate believe), If someone so grossly miss represented a department of the US Government (if you can do this and get away with it for the DOC, what stops anybody from doing the same thing with other Departments, or even the executive office of the president?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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