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

Tag Archives: Bob Woodward

Politico: Grand Bargain All But Impossible

President Obama almost certainly missed his chance to strike a “grand bargain” with Republicans on the deficit, particularly after having taken taxes out of the mix by raising them by $600 billion unilaterally at the beginning of the year, according to Politico.

Republicans, according to the piece, are serious when they say they are finished hiking taxes. And that puts Obama, despite his sudden charm explosion, in a serious bind.

From the article:

Obama would have to persuade Republicans to vote for a tax increase for the second time in less than one year. Can you imagine Boehner and his troops heading into the 2014 midterm elections dominated by conservative activists having to explain, not one, but two increases?

They ate $600 billion in defense cuts that a majority of Republicans wish they could undo rather than discuss even a tiny tax increase. Hard to see them budging now . . .

“Nobody is even talking about a grand bargain,” one of the Senate’s most influential Democratic leadership aides told us. “It is not even on our radar right now.” An adviser to Speaker John Boehner told us that window was slammed shut by Obama’s hardball tactics since the tax hike. “He missed the chance.”

I think the analysis is correct. Republicans who raise taxes again will be welcoming primary challenges all over the nation. And the White House has already socked them with two hits – tax increases and defense cuts. Obama will learn that you can hit someone over the head and apologize only so many times.

This is why Gene Sperling was busy screaming at Bob Woodward. Because he knows Woodward’s contention – that Obama moved the goalposts by trying include tax increases as a substitute for the sequester, which is all about spending cuts – does bodily damage to the president’s effort to extract more revenues from Republicans.

Sperling was likely engaged in a typical White House tactic – bully reporters to erase reporting that isn’t helpful to Obama. But as Politico notes, Republicans already get it.

Woodward: I Didn’t Feel Threatened

Well, now you tell us.

Unfortunately, Woodward’s screwup allows the White House to try to say, “Move along, nothing to see here.”

But I do think there’s been enough information put out over the last 36 hours so that public is much better aware of how the White House attacks Freedom of the Press by bullying and intimidating journalists trying to do their jobs.

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

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

Bob Woodward: Obama “Mistaken” on Sequester

Reporter Bob Woodward says President Obama is “mistaken” on the sequester, saying the president misspoke when he said it was Congress’s idea and not his. Woodward reported in his recent book, “The Price of Politics,” that in fact it was the White House that conjured up the proposal. Speaking to Politico, Woodward charitably offered that… Continue Reading

Woodward: Nobody Was in Charge

Bob Woodward’s new book, The Price of Politics, is an indictment of President Obama’s leadership that cuts through the incessant excuse making we hear out of the White House. As you are well aware, when Obama and his aides are not blaming George W. Bush for their problems, they’re blaming the Republicans. They take responsibility… Continue Reading