Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on Tuesday evening tweeted a link to a sensational story by the conservative Washington Free Beacon accusing the Obama White House of hypocrisy because…well, here's how the Beacon put it:
"The White House Visitors Office requires that an unborn child—still residing in utero—must be counted as a full human being when its parents register for a White House tour, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon." http://freebeacon.com/no-birth-certificate-required/
Bachmann's take, condensed to Twitter's 140 characters, was "The White House Visitors Office recognizes #personhood of unborn babies yet its occupant doesn't? http://tiny.cc/ise0dw #prolife"
The Beacon excerpted an email from the White House Visitors Office that asks expectant parents to register their future bundle of joy, "crazy as it may sound." They should give their family name as the last name, "baby" as the first name, "NMN" ("No Middle Name") and the like. The email goes on to say that "once the baby is born," the parents should update the information.
Wait. "Once the baby is born"? Well, yes: The policy is designed for those rare instances in which a pregnant woman's White House tour is scheduled near, or after, her due date, several officials familiar with the policy explained to Yahoo News. That's because if Mom, Dad and Son registered to be cleared by the Secret Service, but Mom, Dad, Son and Little Sis show up at the White House, their security clearance is out of whack. And good luck getting the Secret Service to babysit."
All White House tour guests, regardless of age, are required to provide identification information as part of the tour request. This includes children and infants," according to Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary.
"In the particular instance of an infant yet to be born at the time of the tour request, if they are expected to participate in the tour parents are expected to provide basic information as a placeholder," he told Yahoo News by telephone. "This placeholder information must be updated after the birth of the child and prior to the tour."
"This procedure was implemented to expedite tour requests by ensuring that all tour attendees are accounted for, as well as eliminating any delays that may occur if a tour guest arrives with a newborn that was not submitted as part of the original tour request," Leary said.