On Thursday, Bret Baier waded in to the ongoing controversy over long-time Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward’s disputed claim that he was threatened by White House economic advisor Gene Sperling after alleging that the Obama administration originally proposed the sequester.
“Listen, I think the importance of this story is the substance of the sequester back-and-forth,” Baier told Andrea Tantaros on her radio show. “You know, the whole thing about threats — you know, Politico from the White House has now put out this email exchange between Gene Sperling and Bob Woodward. And you know reading the entire email — now if this is the entire extent of the email exchange, I don’t know. We have to see what Bob Woodward says. But, if this is it, I think many reporters — and I covered the White House for four years — received emails like this.”
“I mean, it was kind of a cordial exchange for the most part, and Sperling is actually apologizing for a heated telephone conversation they had earlier in the day and at one point he says, you know, ‘you’ll regret this position,’” he continued. “I’m not saying the White House doesn’t pressure and say, you know, to reporters all the time and put the heat on reporters covering the White House. I’ve heard many, many stories that they do. But this particular incident and this particular email — I’m not sure that characterizing it as a threat — I think Bob Woodward has a little bit of explaining to do about that characterization.”
Baier had also questioned the White House’s response, and asked why David Plouffe, a former Obama senior adviser, was attacking Woodward on Twitter.
“That said, the substance of this argument I think is really, really the thing,” Baier said. “And David Plouffe, you know, coming out with a tweet last night from the White House, going after Woodward — it seems so, I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem like it’s White House caliber to go to those lengths after Woodward when you’re dealing with what you’re characterizing as this major problem for the economy.”
Later Tantaros asked Baier if this was indicative of a change in how the press corps treats President Obama.
“Yeah, I think it’s changing,” Baier said. “The Washington Post has a story about [Education Secretary] Arne Duncan yesterday about fact-checking pink slips going out to teachers. I think, you know, there may be a crack in the media protection of President Obama’s armor for at least a little while on this sequester story.”