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Was Obama's L.A. Town Hall Loaded With Dem Insiders?

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Last month, when President Barack Obama announced his town hall-style meeting in Los Angeles, thousands of locals scrambled, as directed, to enter their names in a lottery to win free tickets to the "public" event. But, while "it was free [...] it wasn't exactly public," points out the Daily News.

"Hundreds of tickets never made it into the public's hands. Instead, they were distributed to Democratic officeholders and their staffs, community leaders, people connected to Obama's 2008 campaign, Democratic fundraisers and others invited by the White House." After delivering his prepared remarks, Obama told the crowd to feel free to point out his foibles since they hadn't "prescreened anybody," although one audience member did mention that the crowd was full of the President's volunteers.

No one took the opportunity to take him to task; most seemed thrilled to be there in person, and the audience often broke into wild applause. Obama appeared comfortable among his admirers, and accepted a great deal of praise from those chosen to pose questions of him. Is this surprising, though?

"When the president holds events outside Washington, it's customary for his staff to dole out invitations to local supporters," although some are balking at the White House holding back such a hefty portion of the tickets, and question just how "free and open to the public" the event truly was.

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Are we okay with a President who emphasizes transparency, but sometimes stacks the deck in his favor? Or is Obama just doing what any visiting President would do when filling a room for a televised event?