White House Visitor Logs Feature Famous Names

Just-released White House visitor logs show that Oprah Winfrey, Michael Moore, Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers all visited the President's home since Barack Obama took office.

Some are, in fact, the well-known celebrities. But the others just share their name.

Late on Friday afternoon, the White House released the first installment of 451 names from its visitor logs and posted them on its website. The names are in response to 110 requests from reporters and others on whether certain individuals had visited the White House.

It's evident that the Oprah Winfrey on the list is the talk show host familiar to us all. But none of the eight listings on the log for Michael Moore are the Oscar-winning filmmaker.

"The records we are publishing today include a few 'false positives,'" White House spokesman Ben LaBolt cautioned reporters.

He said the White House was asked to check for visits by some famous and/or controversial figures. And while those names are on the list, they are not filmmaker Michael Moore, legendary basketball star Michael Jordan, the president's former pastor Jeremiah Wright, or 1960s college radical William Ayers.

"The well-known individuals with those names never actually came to the White House," said LaBolt.

After being sued by a group called CREW – Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the Obama White House agreed to release the names of all visitors – except those whose disclosure would cause national security problems.

At the end of December, the White House plans to release the names of all visitors during the previous 90 days. Some 100,000 people visit the White House each month, most of them tourists. If you're among them, expect to see your name on the White House website.

And if your name is the same as someone famous or infamous, the postings will raise questions about whether they visited the White House – and why.

Even so, the White House trumpets that its decision to make visitor logs public, which no previous White House has done, "marks a major milestone in government transparency."

President Obama has said the American people have a right to know who visits the White House and who they meet with.

Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/markknoller.
  • Mark Knoller On Twitter»

    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.