Twitter exploded last night, after Bob Woodward revealed that White House official had warned him he would “regret” saying Obama had moved the goal posts on sequestration.
Predictably, conservatives latched onto this, as it confirmed our suspicion about the Obama Administration’s “Chicago-style” of politics. A lot of mainstream journalists bought into this, too — reflexively believing anything the great Bob Woodward says.
Of course, Woodward (who was expert at trolling for publicity before the internet even existed), benefits greatly from the publicity (nothing sells books like controversy).
Make no mistake. This was no accident. As Politico reported last night,
“Woodward repeated the last sentence, making clear he saw it as a veiled threat. “‘You’ll regret.’ Come on,” he said. “I think if Obama himself saw the way they’re dealing with some of this, he would say, ‘Whoa, we don’t tell any reporter ‘you’re going to regret challenging us.'”
But today, things look different. P0litico has posted the exclusive email from Gene Sperling to Woodward. It begins, “I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today.”
(Frightening, I know!)
Sperling’s email eventually does say, “I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim.” But this is clearly not a veiled threat of retaliation, but rather a warning that the reporter was about to get the story wrong.
When Woodward tells of being warned he would “regret” challenging Obama, it sounds ominous. But if Politico’s reporting today is correct, it seems much more innocuous than that.
Looks like we were played.