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Woodward: The White House Threatened Me

by Keith Koffler on February 27, 2013, 9:43 pm

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 suppression of speech. Maybe this will finally shine a seriously bright light on scurrilous Obama White House tactics.

That they would go after Woodward is a bit of a surprise, both because of the respect he commands and because if he decided to really focus his journalistic talents on Obama, we would find out all sorts of things the White House doesn’t want us to know.

In a piece running Thursday evening, Politico describes the exchange that led to the threat:

Bob Woodward called a senior White House official last week to tell him that in a piece in that weekend’s Washington Post, he was going to question President Barack Obama’s account of how sequestration came about – and got a major-league brushback. The Obama aide “yelled at me for about a half hour,” Woodward told us in an hour-long interview yesterday around the Georgetown dining room table where so many generations of Washington’s powerful have spilled their secrets.

Digging into one of his famous folders, Woodward said the tirade was followed by a page-long email from the aide, one of the four or five administration officials most closely involved in the fiscal negotiations with the Hill. “I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today,” the official typed. “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.”

. . . A White House official said: “Of course no threat was intended.”

Let’s go to the videotape.

Woodward, you’ll note in the first video, suggested to Blitzer that if President Obama “knew that was part of the communications strategy – let’s hope it’s not a strategy . . . ” that he’d put the kabosh on it.

Nonsense. It is a strategy, it has been for a long time, and Obama knows all about it.

Woodward, as you may know, has been correcting the White House as it has tried to deny responsibility for the sequester, which it created. Woodward has said Obama “moved the goalposts” on Republicans by insisting tax increases be part of a deal to avoid the automatic spending cuts.

Earlier Thursday, Woodward said it was a “kind of madness I haven’t seen in a long time” for Obama not to deploy an aircraft carrier because of the looming sequester.

The pressure will now be on for Woodward to name the official who threatened him, or for the White House to fess up.

Governing by intimidation. Suppressing speech. It took 40 years, but Woodward once again is facing off against Richard Nixon in the White House.

{ 39 comments }

GotFreedom February 27, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Stay strong and stay safe Mr. Woodward. . .America needs you to stay on this administration’s case. . .you’ve done it before and we support you now in your endeavors to get the truth out!

pianogirl88 February 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm

“Obama’s chickens are coming home to rooooooooooooost!”
The Rev. Jeremiah Wrong, Chicago, IL.

Darkangel February 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm

There are some people in life that you just do not pick fights with.

You’d better not challenge Bobby Flay to a cookoff unless you’re running your own restaurant. Anything less, and Flay would most likely wipe the stove with you.

You’d better not challenge Zdeno Charra to a hardest slap shot competition unless you want to get embarrassed at how underpowered your shot is.

You’d better not challenge Mike Tyson to a fistfight unless your medical insurance has very thorough catastrophic coverage.

You’d better not challenge Doyle Brunson at the poker table unless you’ve got ten grand you don’t mind losing.

And Obama, for his part, had BETTER not challenge Bob Woodward in the political arena. Woodward was being portrayed on the big screen by Robert Redford when Obama was still in high school. Woodward is almost a quarter century down the pike from having taken down Richard Nixon; Obama, meanwhile, is less then ten years removed from being a backbench Illinois state senator. If he wants to go after Woodward, he is SERIOUSLY punching above his weight class.

It’s gonna be on like Elton John playing Donkey Kong while wearing Sean John in Haiphong. This could actually be fun to watch.

Elaine February 28, 2013 at 6:14 pm

If Woodward had any integrity he would have exposed Obama for who he really is prior to the 2008 elections. He could do it now but if he did, he would have to carefully watch his back.

DMcG February 27, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Keith, as much as I enjoy your reporting and read you continually (and hope that you continue!), I am thrilled that a reporter with the MSM cred of Bob Woodward is weighing in on the same side of the argument. I really hope he gets as mad at Obama as he got at Nixon. You are correct. It would bring his house of cards tumbling down.

Remember, Nixon carried 49 states in 1972, and was forced to resign less than two years later. It can happen.

Jojo February 27, 2013 at 10:22 pm

We can only hope…

Keith Koffler February 27, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Thanks DMcG – believe me, the more reporters start doing accountability with respect to this White House, the happier I’ll be.

Michael February 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm

It’s the Chicago Way!

Lizzy February 27, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Well Mr Woodward borrow Dick Cheney’s old undisclosed location and write
the ‘Shock and Awe’ of Obama’s dirty little secrets. Not only would you write a cracking good read and make piles and piles of money you know that stuff
Obama only wants his elitist friends to have but not American’s. But you may
just save the country. Good luck and start writing no greater deed!

Ronald Montague February 27, 2013 at 10:34 pm

GO GET ‘EM, BOB.

Maureen Thalmann February 27, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Notice that Woodward still excuses Obama, as if the President is unaware and innocent of what top officials in the WH are communicating. It is madness the way the liberal media protects this president. Shame on them.

Brenda A. February 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Will ‘they’ get to Woodward and will he backtrack?

MichelleIndependent February 27, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Mr. Woodward, it is not Mickey Mouse. It is Chicago Thuggery.

And Barry is most likely well aware as he has his underlings do his dirty work.

rulierose February 27, 2013 at 11:28 pm

as I posted on the politico article, I’ve been wondering who would have enough cojones to be the Woodward to Obama’s Nixon. looks like it’s going to be Woodward. pretty ironic.

but Keith! “The pressure will now be on for Woodward to name the official who threatened him”…? that’s a joke, right? Woodward had no problem keeping Deep Throat’s name unknown for decades. I think he can hold out against the Obama administration. I mean–we know they won’t waterboard him!

srdem65 February 27, 2013 at 11:55 pm

“very senior” “whitehouse”….hmmm. Valerie Jarrett?

Julie Brueckheimer February 28, 2013 at 12:33 am

Yes.

Julie Brueckheimer February 28, 2013 at 12:55 am

Well, the bit Keith quotes from Politico says he and him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Wouldn’t it be funny, though, if it were Jack Lew who was just confirmed.

Girly1 February 28, 2013 at 1:38 am

Valjar is definitely a screamer!

Lizzy February 28, 2013 at 7:10 am

As we’ve noticed cojones are in short supply. Other than ValJar and
Michelle we’ve not seen many. Well ‘ladies’ you’ve met your match
in Mr Woodward he’s intelligent and far craftier than you bunch of
rank amateur thugs. So let the Obama cabal stay awake wondering
if and when the dirty little lies will be a best seller:-)

Otis Driftwood February 27, 2013 at 11:39 pm

It’s great to see another real journalist go after this administration for all the garbage being spewed by the current WH occupants. I have a feeling Mr Woodward has allot more file information concerning internal wheeling and dealings behind the scenes, including maybe a Deep Throat II, and it’s enough to scare the pants off of the senior officials. We are already seeing their kick back. Some on the left may not like the picture being painted, and will try to damage or intimidate Mr Woodward to back down. Keep going Bob.. your country need you to follow through!

Maybe this will be the kick to the head to some of the other MSM flunkies to become honest reporters again. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

srdem65 February 27, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Deja vu. Sitting here with my old tin foil hat in place, it seems that MrWoodward has pulled the string that might unravel a lot more than any of us imagine. All we need now is for someone who was thrown under the Obama bus to come crawling out and tell what they know.

The CIA, the State Dept, the Pentagon, all have reason to help pull that string in MrWoodward’s capable hands.
Wow.

Lizzy February 28, 2013 at 7:16 am

We should all wear tin foil hats in support of the hopeful demise of
Obama’s little power trip. Woodward will not go quietly into that good night.

Danceswithtruth February 28, 2013 at 10:29 am

Maybe Donald Trump can take that $5M he offered the President for the release of his birth certificate and use it as an offering for Woodward to write a “tell all” book. Trump has the means to put Woodward in an undisclosed location with security and can use additional funds to “entice” others to come forward. Ah……the “what ifs”.

Julie Brueckheimer February 28, 2013 at 12:32 am

How are some of the irrational left like MSNBC going to handle this?

Julie Brueckheimer February 28, 2013 at 1:03 am

Tried to go over to MSNBC via Drudge link and got NBC. No mention of this story.

Girly1 February 28, 2013 at 1:44 am

Joe and Mika can’t risk their $6M and $4M salaries. respectively. The minute I found out Joe was making $6M, I stopped watching.

Girly1 February 28, 2013 at 12:39 am

This is monumental! Firstly, who in their right mind would send such an overt threat via email? Secondly, are these thugs naiive enough to threaten the most celebrated senior investigative journalist in their lifetime? It’s mind boggling!

I’m beside myself with gleeful anticipation that this criminal act by the yet unidentified Obama surrogate will open the floodgates leading to Obama’s ultimate removal from office. Obama and his band of thugs are terrorists, pure and simple. Woodward has opened the door for the rest of the Fourth Estate to step up for the sake of their country. We know that they know how dangerous this madman who poses as the President is. It’s time to speak out!

Julie Brueckheimer February 28, 2013 at 12:49 am

I can’t believe the person was dumb enough to put the threat on e-mail. Yikes! Proving SoS Kerry correct that Americans have the right to be stupid, even at the highest levels of government.

They are not naive, Girly1, but so drunk with power they’ve made the mistake that they are untouchable.

Always On Watch February 28, 2013 at 6:44 am

Yeah, putting the threat in writing was an incredible blunder — akin to some of Richard Nixon’s doings.

GotFreedom February 28, 2013 at 12:54 am

He must be getting to them. . .they are circling the wagons!

“Woodwardgate: Media Gang-Tackle Iconic Journalist to Save Obama”
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/02/27/Obama-media-gang-tackles-Woodward

“WH Senior Adviser Plouffe: Woodward Washed Up”
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/02/27/White-House-Senior-Adviser-Plouffe-Rips-Woodward

Stay safe and stay strong Mr. Woodward and keep on reporting on the truth!

Swedishlady February 28, 2013 at 3:30 am

Oh, finally !!! And I don´t believe that Mr Woodward is easily frightened.
In the end of the interview he said : ” Color me a little baffled. I don´t understand this White House. Do you ? ” Well, I hope that this is a polite beginning and that the gloves soon will be off. Given his credibility and reputation one or two “Deep Throats” might step forward. Please bring down this House of Cards !

Regina February 28, 2013 at 5:08 am

this is just a drop in the ocean

Julie Brueckheimer February 28, 2013 at 10:11 am

Let’s hope rather that it is the first drop escaping from the little boy’s finger in the dyke.

Just2old February 28, 2013 at 7:09 am

I hope the “string” Mr. Woodward is pulling will open the curtain! I feel like we’re back in 1972 waiting for Nixon to give up the tapes!

RWoodworth February 28, 2013 at 9:34 am

Was it: Axlerod, Phloff, Panetta, Jarrett-Born in Iran. It doesn’t matter because they are all equal in the threat. Can you believe they want power and a job so bad that they are willing to take your freedoms, raise your taxes further, bring members of the Terrorist Brother Hood Organization into the Whitehouse, make America less defensive, leave the Southern U.S. Borders bare where million of illegals and Jahad individuals are allowed by Obama to bring death causing drugs into America, release 1000 of alien prisoners across America w/o justification………….. besides being an illegal president with no birth certificate, and counterfeit SS and Draft Cards. Where is our justice system? Where is the brave military? The military guards obama in that whitehouse?

RWoodworth February 28, 2013 at 9:50 am

Bob Woodward………… run for official office please. But please spill some more of the beans, because with the Clintons involved, we don’t want you to be snuffed out by Hillary’s people like the Clinton Administration did to Vincent Foster. So watch your back Mr. President Woodward, surround yourself with witnesses of high AMerican trust…………… and PLEASE report more to us Great Americans? We are taking names America, aern’t we? The nammes on our lists will not have a easy life after they leave the criminal bastard Obama?

John Kinkaid February 28, 2013 at 10:59 am

The “O” deserves a place in history with Richard Nixon.

Barney Murrell February 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Keith Koffler,

If you and Woodward believe Obama is responable sequester then you are both wrong. As journalists you should be able to do better, unless you two are just lying about Obama responsibility. Here is referenced, verifiable truth about sequestration:

Sequestration is the latest buzz-word being used in the deficit and debt blame game; but it is not a new economic concept. The Balanced Budget and Emergency Control Act of 1985, sometimes referred to as “Gramm-Rudman-Hollings…” created deficit targets to balance the federal budget in 6-years. If the targets were not met, then automatic sequestration spending cuts would occur. It was signed into law by President Reagan in Dec. 1985.

In 1986 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled portions of the 1985 law unconstitutional in Bowsher v. Synar on the basis that it violated the separation of powers. In response Congress revised the sequestration procedures to comply with the ruling, and in Sept. of 1987 President Reagan signed the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Reaffirmation Act of 1987.

The Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 was another attempt to combat growing budget deficits and debt that began escalating during the Reagan Administration. It created “pay-as-you-go” (PAYGO) rules for taxes and certain entitlement programs, and was signed by President GW Bush 11/05/90.

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 made changes to discretionary spending limits and to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 “to assure that any legislation enacted before October 1, 2002, affecting direct spending or receipts that increases the deficit will trigger an offsetting sequestration.”

Another mechanism for taming the deficit and debt is the Senate’s Byrd rule, adopted in 1985 and amended in 1990, which allowed senators during Reconciliation to block deficit increasing legislation.

But the legislation could not stop President Bush from creating deficits with his 2001-2003 tax cuts, prescription drug program, two wars paid for off budget with supplemental appropriations; all of which far exceeded what would be allowed under the Balanced Budget Acts, PAYGO rules, and the Senate Byrd rule.

To overcome the obstacles Bush used a “Sunset” provision to limit his tax cuts to ten years, thus removing $100s of billions from amounts that would have triggered PAYGO sequestration. Thus, deficits began again when “…Republicans in the Senate, at the quiet but intense urging of the White House, massaged their own budget accounting rules to fit a $400 billion tax cut through a $124 billion hole;” according to a 5/19/2003 Wall St. Journal article.

noelle March 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Mr. Woodward; why would you belive that Nixon knew about the Watergate break in..but Obama didn’t know about that threat? You are painfully naive..Stalin’s sycophants didn’t believe he had so many people murdered…it is the same..lame…liberal mentality..let us know when you locate a unicorn on the White House lawn.