WOLF BLITZER (CNN): Share with our viewers what's going on between you and the White House.Wow! A tyrannical White House bullying reporters and issuing threats. That's a SCANDAL. It turns out the email in question was from White House Economic Council director Gene Sperling, and as BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith reports, Republicans—and even some reporters—are flipping the you-know-what out:
BOB WOODWARD: Well, they're not happy at all, and some people kind of, you know, said, look, we don't see eye to eye on this. They never really said, though - afterwards, they've said that this is factually wrong, and they - and it was said to me in an e-mail by a top –
BLITZER: What was said? Yes.
WOODWARD: It was said very clearly, you will regret doing this.
BLITZER: Who sent that e-mail to you?
WOODWARD: Well, I'm not going to say.
BLITZER: Was it a senior person at the White House?
WOODWARD: A very senior person. And just as a matter - I mean, it makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, you're going to regret doing something that you believe in.
The email from Sperling to Woodward, which Woodward read to Politico Wednesday, has transfixed Washington, with Republicans and some in the press charging that it embodies a White House lording it over a cowed press corps.But if you spend twenty seconds reading the email in question, it couldn't be more obvious that Bob Woodward is completely full of it:
Bob:The full email is here. Woodward's response?
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.
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, BobSo not only was Sperling's email heavier on the apology than on the threats (more specifically, there was an apology, but not a threat), Woodward clearly interpreted it as such. Indeed, he said he "welcomed it." But then he went running to other media outlets to claim he was the target of a White House political attack. The first of those outlets, Politico, failed to report the "as a friend" portion of Sperling's email, nor did they mention Woodward's cheerful reply. CNN was breathlessly intrigued as well. The net result was that there was a political hit job going on: but it was Woodward who was leading it.
Oh, and you know what else? Woodward was wrong. But so was Sperling, because Woodward clearly doesn't regret that fact. He should.6:42 AM PT: Having been served in the administration that outed Valerie Plame, Dana Perino is clearly an authority on this topic.