Behind the Curtain
Bob Woodward called a senior White House official last week to tell him that in a piece in that weekend’s Washington Post, he was going to question President Barack Obama’s account of how sequestration came about — and got a major-league brushback. The Obama aide “yelled at me for about a half-hour,” Woodward told us in an hourlong interview yesterday around the Georgetown dining room table where so many generations of Washington’s powerful have spilled their secrets.
Digging into one of his famous folders, Woodward said the tirade was followed by a page-long email from the aide, one of the four or five administration officials most closely involved in the fiscal negotiations with the Hill. “I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today,” the official typed. “You’re focusing on a few specific trees that give a very wrong impression of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here. … I think you will regret staking out that claim.”…
…Woodward — first in “The Price of Politics,” his best-seller on the failed quest for a grand budget bargain, and later with his opinion piece in the Post — makes plain that sequestration was an idea crafted by the White House. Obama personally approved the plan and later signed it into law. Woodward was right, several congressional officials involved in the talks told us…
…The Woodward reporting has caused the White House spin machine to sputter at a crucial time. The president was running around the country, campaign-style, warning that Republicans were at fault for the massive cuts set to hit Friday. What Obama never says: It was his own staff that proposed sequestration, and the tax hikes he now proposes — aimed at replacing half of the cuts — were never part of that very specific plan.
The White House instead has, with great success, fudged the facts. The administration has convinced a majority of the country that Republicans are more to blame by emphasizing that Republicans voted for the plan. Which they did — after Obama conceived it…
The complete article, with video, is at Politico.
Also at the site, Exclusive: The Woodward, Sperling emails revealed [video]
Lanny Davis, who served under President Bill Clinton as special counsel to the White House, told Washington, D.C.’s WMAL this morning that the Obama White House had threatened the Washington Times over his column, warning that the Times would suffer limited access to White House officials and might have its White House credentials revoked. Davis, a centrist Democrat, is sometimes critical of the Obama administration’s policies.
Davis was speaking with Breitbart News editor Larry O’Connor, who co-hosts a morning show on WMAL. Davis said he had never spoken publicly about the threats before, but they seemed relevant after the White House told legendary reporter Bob Woodward that he would “regret” insisting that the White House had come up with the idea of the budget sequester, which President Barack Obama is now urging Congress urgently to revoke…
Some background from Big Journalism: Woodwardgate: Media Gang-Tackle Iconic Journalist to Save Obama [video]
…This is an incredible case of the White House attempting to bully the most iconic reporter of the 20th century – the reporter who, along with Carl Bernstein, took down a president of the United States. So you might expect the rest of the media to stand with Woodward. You’d be wrong. They’re too busy spending time playing defense for the White House…
The saga with Woodward began over the weekend, when Woodward said that Obama was “moving the goal posts” with regard to sequestration spending. Obama, said Woodward, had originally designed the sequester to focus on cuts rather than contemplating additional tax increases. This drove the White House to call Woodward “willfully wrong,” despite the fact that White House press secretary Jay Carney admitted that the sequestration was originally Obama’s idea.
“It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, ‘You’re going to regret doing something that you believe in,’” Woodward told CNN. Wednesday morning, Woodward told MSNBC that Obama’s decision to redeploy an aircraft carrier from the Persian Gulf thanks to the possibility of the sequester was irresponsible, the “kind of madness I haven’t seen in a long time.”
That madness has now infected the mainstream media. They’re too busy defending President Obama to defend the American people – or even their fellow members of the press – from Obama’s thug White House.
Read the whole thing.
Here is one of the first reports on February 27th, from Reuters: Journalist Bob Woodward blasts Obama “madness” in handling cuts.
The Daily Caller has posted the video of the exchange between Wolf Blitzer and Woodward.
…Younger reporters were tweeting last night that they get angry e-mails from political flacks all the time and that it’s no big deal, which is a nifty way to humblebrag about how they’ve upset Power by speaking Truth while also serving the liberal cause du jour of discrediting Bob Woodward. (Some serve more bravely than others.) Is that what David Jackson means here, that Woodward’s blowing routine White House grumpiness out of all proportion? Or that Woodward’s right and that veiled White House threats are more common than you’d think?…
Update: Glenn Beck tells you how to survive the sequester cuts (which equal nine days of federal spending):
Another helpful visual from The Conservative Hammer:
And former DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams, who’s encountered The Chicago Way™ first-hand, writes, “Hey, Bob, you can’t say we didn’t warn you. We knew this White House was capable of attacking even the great Bob Woodward for telling the truth…What’s happened when you, of all people, are the bad guy?…” Read All the President’s Thugs.
NOTE: This post will be continually updated…Also, I’m not including open partisans in this list, like Josh Marshal of Talking Points Memo. Those listed below pose as “objective” journalists.
The media stands by its own, at least until one of its own upsets The Narrative. Not even a living legend is immune from this rule. In the case of Bob Woodward, his detailed and lengthy reporting on sequester has resulted in the possible derailing of the most crucial Narrative the White House and media are likely to launch this year. The fate of Obama’s second term and even his legacy rest on it…
…Yesterday, Woodward really threw the White House and its media a curve by being the only high-profile reporter willing to say out loud that Obama has the power to choose where the cuts hit. In other words, all this White House fear-mongering is an audacious lie.
Though no one’s disputed Woodward’s reporting, the media’s Cult of Obama began pushing back against the Watergate legend even before he dropped the bomb last night that he had been threatened by a top White House official.
But when that news hit, many in media immediately chose to protect Obama by ridiculing Woodward, questioning his motives, and/or dismissing his reporting.
Meet the members of the Cult of Obama…
As promised, I will give an update on the Benghazi info CBS asked the Admin. to provide last Oct.
— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) February 28, 2013