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White House: President Obama did not talk to Jay-Z about Cuba trip

Posted by Kristi Palma  April 12, 2013 08:38 AM

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Did Jay-Z really get clearance from President Obama for his recent trip to Cuba with wife Beyonce? That's exactly what he's rapping in his new single, "Open Letter."

Nope, says White House spokesman Jay Carney, who told the media, "I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury because Treasury offers and gives licenses for travel, as you know, and the White House has nothing to do with it."

When pressed further, Carney said simply, "It's a song. The president did not communicate with Jay-Z over this trip."

Listen to his entire answer in the AP video above.

And here are portions of the lyrics in question:

Boy from the hood/but got White House clearance.
Obama said, ‘Chill, you gonna get me impeached’/But you don’t need this (expletive) anyway/Chill with me on the beach.

So what's all the fuss about this trip?

Americans are not allowed to spend money in Cuba unless granted a specific license by the Office of Foreign Asset Control, according to this New York Times report. On Wednesday, the Treasury Department said Jay-Z's trip was classified as an educational exchange and not a tourism trip so it was OK (the superstars met with a theater group and visited an art institute).

According to the same report, the couple wined and dined at some of the best restaurants, danced, and strolled through historic Old Havana to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. This caused some members of Congress to doubt that the trip was indeed educational and demand an explanation from the Treasury Department. But the Treasury Department said sightseeing is allowed during downtime on an educational trip.

What do you think?

More headlines:
-- Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger won't sing at their wedding (
-- Heidi Klum opens up to Ellen DeGeneres about son's drowning scare (E! News)
-- Judge won't dismiss part of Martha Stewart lawsuit (AP)
-- Crystal Harris shares the birthday gift she got Hugh Hefner (
-- Pregnant Halle Berry shows off baby bump from the side on Red Carpet in Brazil (E! News)


About Pop Radar's entertainment staff brings you the latest celebrity news and pop culture updates, along with discussions on the day's hot topics. And you're invited to weigh in. Let's dish.


Katie McLeod is's features editor.

Kristi Palma is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at

Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at

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