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Biden team apologizes to reporter for making him wait in a closet

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bill Nelson leave Air Force Two after touching down in Tampa on Wednesday, March 23, 2011. Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bill Nelson flew into Tampa on a stop to see the New York Yankees' spring training baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Steinbrenner Field.
AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Peter Massa
Joe Biden, Bill Nelson
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bill Nelson leave Air Force Two after touching down in Tampa on Wednesday, March 23, 2011.
AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Peter Massa

Updated: 12:08 p.m. ET

In a letter to reporter Scott Powers last week, a spokeswoman for Vice President Joe Biden apologized to the Orlando Sentinel reporter for keeping him in a closet (or, as the spokeswoman described it, a "lack of a better hold room") during an event he was covering.

Powers, who was the designated pool reporter at a fundraiser for Biden and Florida Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), was told upon arrival at the event - hosted by philanthropist Alan Ginsburg at his home - that he would have to wait in a storage closet until the vice president arrived, according to an account by ABC News.

The vice president reportedly arrived about an hour later, at which point Powers was allowed to leave the closet and report on his and Nelson's comments. Afterward, he was escorted back into the closet until the motorcade had left the premises.

"Scott - You have our sincere apologies for the lack of a better hold room today," Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander wrote Powers in apology following the occasion.

ABC reports that a statement from Biden's office also says "It is standard policy for the Vice President's office that a print pooler cover the speaking program at fundraisers."

"This has been the consistent policy throughout the Administration," the statement reads. "At times, these fundraisers are at private homes and 'hold rooms' are provided for pool reporters to wait for the speaking program to commence. A hold room, however, should not be a storage room. This was the unfortunate mistake of an inexperienced staffer and the Vice President's office has made sure it will never happen again."

The statement, according to ABC, also noted that the storage room had space for a table and chair where Powers could file his story following Biden's remarks. "It was designated as the hold space because of its close proximity to the event room. The speaking program began approximately one hour after the reporter arrived, which he covered as the pool reporter, and he departed the home as soon as the motorcade left (about 15 mins after the speaking program ended)."

Powers took a photo of the storage space during his captivity in the closet, which was later posted on the Orlando Sentinel's blog. "Sounds like a nice party," he apparently wrote his editor, from his station in the closet.

"The protocol is they didn't want me to talk to anybody," Powers told "Good Morning America" reporter Matt Gutman in an interview on Monday. "I kept opening the door and peeking out there to see what I could see and I kept being told, 'get back inside, we'll let you know when you can come out.'"

"This was my first closet," Powers added, of his experience with various "hold rooms" throughout his career as a journalist.

In a Sunday night blog post, Powers argued that the incident had been blown out of proportion by the media.

"A lot of details circulating through the blogosphere -- and into some mainstream media -- about my coverage of Biden's fundraising visit to a Winter Park home last Wednesday were news to me," Powers wrote.

Powers, who gives a full rundown of the incident at the Orlando Sentinel, said his attempts to clear up confusion surrounding the incident were largely ineffective.

"I discovered that whatever I said was irrelevant to other bloggers and posters who concluded that I was spin-controlling, continuing the cover-up," he continued. "Some called me a liar and worse. But the real vile was naturally aimed at Biden."

"Now we have ClosetGate: the latest big Washington scandal, it seems," Powers added.