HuffPo’s Fineman admits to offering White House strategic political advice

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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Just how cozy are the White House and the left-leaning Huffington Post these days? Apparently very close, based on an admission from the website’s senior political editor Howard Fineman.

In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball” Tuesday, Chris Matthews suggested how the Obama administration could successfully get a jobs and infrastructure program through Congress. He argued the White House should offer specific examples of how its program would create jobs in particular districts, and then dare those districts’ representatives to vote “no.”

But Fineman, who is also a MSNBC contributor, explained he had in fact talked to a “senior White House official” about the Matthews proposal.

“Well, I don’t think [Obama] knows it the way you know it in this context, Chris, which is that you’ve got to be specific,” Fineman said. “The stimulus package that famously was enacted at the beginning of President Obama’s term did some good things, but it was more like spraying water in the desert as opposed to dropping each drop of water on each seed, and that’s what needs to happen.”

Fineman continued, “Politically, you can do it the way you’re proposing. As a matter of fact, I summarized your proposal and reminded the people at the White House of it, and asked them to take a look and I got the word back from a senior White House official who said, ‘Well, it would depend on how it’s done.’ And to me that means that you need to get your action plan over there right now. They weren’t dismissing it out of hand.”

Matthews wasn’t so quick to embrace Fineman’s openness about his coziness with the Obama administration, denying that he had participated in any sort of discussions with the White House.

“Ok, let me do it on television,” Matthews said. “OK, my friend Howard — you are my friend as well as colleague, and you too, smiling John Heilemann. Here’s the plan, so that I do everything above-board. I don’t meet at the White House. Never been invited, never been there.”