As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Monthly Archives: February 2013

Another Victim of White House Abuse Pops Up

Veteran reporter Ron Fournier, the former Associated Press chief White House reporter who now is editorial director for National Journal, shares his own experience with White House bullying, which was occurring apparently even as the whole Bob Woodward episode was going down.

From his story this morning:

I tweeted: “Obama White House: Woodward is ‘willfully wrong.’ Huh-what did Nixon White House have to say about Woodward?”

. . . The (senior White House) official angered by my Woodward tweet sent me an indignant e-mail. “What’s next, a Nazi analogy?” the official wrote, chastising me for spreading “bull**** like that” I was not offended by the note, mild in comparison to past exchanges with this official. But it was the last straw in a relationship that had deteriorated.

As editor-in-chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Politico characterized as a veiled threat. “You will regret staking out that claim,” The Washington Post reporter was told.

Once I moved back to daily reporting this year, the badgering intensified. I wrote Saturday night, asking the official to stop e-mailing me. The official wrote, challenging Woodward and my tweet. “Get off your high horse and assess the facts, Ron,” the official wrote.

I wrote back:

“I asked you to stop e-mailing me. All future e-mails from you will be on the record — publishable at my discretion and directly attributed to you. My cell-phone number is … . If you should decide you have anything constructive to share, you can try to reach me by phone. All of our conversations will also be on the record, publishable at my discretion and directly attributed to you.”

I haven’t heard back from the official.

Fournier is no wimp and he values his sources. He is, in short, one of a handful of reporters in town I really respect. It must have taken heavy torrents of verbal sewage for him to put an end to the relationship.

It occurs to me. What kinds of people are these exactly? They show up for work every day at the most prestigious address in the world and spend a certain portion of their time acting in the most vile manner imaginable.

And they’re running the country. You can’t tell me they isolate this type of behavior and attitude to their phone calls to reporters.

And the president of the United States has no objection. This is our leadership.

Woodward is Probably Wrong

Bob Woodward appears to either be mistaken or to have exaggerated when he claimed that a senior White House official – who turns out to have been White House National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling – threatened him in response to Woodward’s statements about the White House handling of the sequester. With the release of… Continue Reading

Report: Gene Sperling Threatened Woodward

Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith is reporting that a “source familiar with the exchange” said National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling is the senior White House official who berated Bob Woodward for half an hour and then threatened him in an email over his reporting on the sequester. Sperling is a veteran Democratic official who held the… Continue Reading

Lanny Davis Also Threatened by the White House

Former Clinton White House official Lanny Davis today said he too was threatened by a White House official. Speaking this morning on Washington radio station WMAL’s Morning on the Mall program, Davis said a White House official had threatened the Washington Times over Davis’s column in the paper, warning that the newspaper could lose its… Continue Reading

Breaking: WH to Expand Aid to Syrian Rebels

Secretary of State John Kerry announced today that the United States will provide limited new assistance to the Syrian rebels by sending in military rations and medical supplies. The offer is well short of the armaments the rebels want. I don’t know, this is almost a kind of joke. I really don’t understand incrementalism. If… Continue Reading

Woodward: The White House Threatened Me

Legendary Washington reporter Bob Woodward said  a “very senior person” in the White House threatened that he would “regret” reporting that has been critical of White House handling of the sequester. Normally this doesn’t surprise me, it’s how the White House operates, bullying reporters who write things it doesn’t like. Frankly, it’s Nixonian. This is… Continue Reading

Lew Confirmed as Treasury Secretary

Former White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew was confirmed in the Senate today by a 71-26 vote. President Obama released a statement saying he was “pleased,” and, At this critical time for our economy and our country, there is no one more qualified for this position than Jack. Actually, there a lots of people… Continue Reading