President Obama said that beyond the budget deficit, Washington faced "a deficit of trust." Among other remedies, he called for more transparency. He said his administration posts the names of White House visitors online. He pointed to some lawmakers who post their requests for earmarks online. He urged them to publish all such requests on a single Web site before they are voted on, although he did not admonish members of Congress to abstain from earmarks. The message seems to be transparency about earmarks rather than getting rid of them.
But transparency is not just an issue for lawmakers. The president himself was a bit less than candid when he proclaimed that lobbyists would not have a place in his administration. In his speech, he said he had "excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions." In fact, eight former lobbyists now work for the Obama White House, all having obtained waivers, according to Politifact.org.