During the mid-1980s dairy farmers decided there was too much cheap milk at the supermarket. So the government bought and slaughtered 1.6 million cows. How come the government never does anything like this with lawyers? – P.J. O’Rourke
When Bob Woodward, a liberal, said he was threatened by the White House, the Obama supporters immediately circled the wagons.
For example, Business Insider reported:
But according to Ben Smith of BuzzFeed, here’s what the senior White House official actually said to Bob Woodward (in an email):
“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.”
That’s the “threat”?
Slate, the socialist propaganda rag, called him a wingnut.
Bob Woodward would not say who threatened him but, as it turns out, the emails have been released and we now know it was Gene Sperling who threatened Woodward. Sperling is Obama’s National Economic Council Director (he isn’t doing a very good job from the looks of things).
The threatening email and Bob Woodward’s response comes via Politico [bold is mine]. Woodward was in fact threatened by a WH honcho who is a lawyer – pretty intimidating:
From Gene Sperling to Bob Woodward on Feb. 22, 2013
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 saying that Potus 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 barain 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: 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 diffferent. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. [Right, sincere advice] Your call obviously.
My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.
From Woodward to Sperling on Feb. 23, 2013
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
As Bob Woodward said, he was told he’d regret reporting the facts as he saw them. Forget the apology for yelling at the elderly Mr. Woodward and the damn obfuscation with the forest and tree metaphor.
This was a threat especially since it came from a head guy for the most powerful man in the world (next to Bernanke of course).
Now the left is toning it down and claiming that Woodward is exaggerating, but think about it for a minute. A top spokesperson, a lawyer for the President of the United States, tells a far less powerful man that he will regret reporting what he believes to be the truth, how would you take it? What if it were you?