To hear the White House tell it, Organizing for Action, the campaign organization turned advocacy group for President Obama, is no different from any other progressive group supporting the president.

Never mind that the group is made up of former campaign advisers and reportedly offered access to the president for those who raised half a million dollars for the group. As one reporter pointed out, OFA officials still have e-mail addresses that end in

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Monday brushed off questions about Obama speaking to the group Wednesday while courting GOP lawmakers for a bipartisan, budget deal. In fact, Carney called the group “both helpful and appropriate” for representing the voices of ordinary Americans.

“There are organizations all over Washington and around the country that support policy agendas,” Carney insisted, comparing OFA to groups like the  Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “Any notion that there’s a price for meeting with the president is absurd and wrong.”