Thursday, February 28, 2013

Did the White House threaten Bob Woodward?

Playbook has the story on last night's cable tv drama that unfolded between Bob Woodward and a WH Advisor, who turned out to be Gene Sperling. Give it a read, but let's get a grip on this notion that the WH is plotting to kill Woodward, ok?

From this morning's Politico Playbook...

DEEP THROAT : POLITICO this morning obtained a fascinating email exchange last week between Bob Woodward and Gene Sperling, President Obama's economic adviser. Woodward had told us and CNN's Wolf Blitzer yesterday that a senior White House official - whom he didn't identify - had emailed him to warn he would "regret" questioning administration statements on sequestration. Woodward -- author of the bestselling "The Price of Politics," about 2011's failed quest for a grand bargain -- was reaching out to the official in advance of an opinion piece by Woodward in Sunday's Washington Post. One White House official, after reading Sperling's email and Woodward's reply, was surprised by Woodward's response in the interviews, given the "incredibly friendly" tone of both emails.
--From: Gene Sperling ... To: Bob Woodward ... Feb. 22, 11:52 p.m.: "Bob: I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall -- but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.
"But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying ... that Potus [President of the United States] asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand bar[g]ain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding -- from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios -- but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA [Budget Control Act of 2011]: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)
"I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is different. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.
"My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize. Gene'
--From: Bob Woodward ... To: Gene Sperling ... Feb. 23, 7:23 a.m.: "Gene: You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today. Best, Bob Sent from my iPhone"

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