Updated 1:33 pm ET
Updated 11:14 am ET.
The White House Monday left a potentially embarassing phrase out of the official transcript of the president’s remarks, altering what is supposed to be a verbatim rendition and, unless it was a mistake, effectively lying to the American people.
The odds, of course, of something harmful being the one thing left accidentally on the cutting room floor or unheard by the stenographer would seem rather low.
According to the White House pool report by Politico’s Jennifer Epstein:
The White House’s transcript of tonight’s DNC fundraiser omits the president’s reference to unpaid bills being stacked up on his desk at home in Chicago. I included a partial quote in the pool report earlier, but in the interest of transparency, especially since this was a print pool only event, I’m sharing the full quote, as I transcribed and checked just now, and as it was in the transcript. Thanks to AP’s Josh Lederman for pointing out the discrepancy
“One of the nice things about being home is actually that it’s a little bit like a time capsule. Because Michelle and I and the kids, we left so quickly that there’s still junk on my desk, including some unpaid bills (laughter) — I think eventually they got paid — but they’re sort of stacked up. And messages, newspapers and all kinds of stuff.”
In the transcript, the quote leaves out the reference to unpaid but probably eventually paid bills: “there’s still junk on my desk, including some — newspapers and all kinds of stuff.”
The Bush people also tried altering a transcript and were caught, but that was early in the administration, and they learned their lesson and stuck to exact transcriptions from then on. Given Bush’s challenges with regard to verbal expression in public, it couldn’t have been an easy thing.
Obama’s propagandists should know by now not to produce a false transcript.
The omission was included in the transcript that was emailed out to reporters. A copy has not yet appeared on the White House website. We’ll see what it looks like.
UPDATE: THE PLOT THICKENS: The White House is claiming the stenographer did not hear the omitted phrase. It released a new transcript this morning with “(inaudible)” inserted where the missing phrase should be. Somehow, it wasn’t inaudible to the White House pool reporters, who picked up on the discrepancy between what was said and what was in the transcript.
UPDATE 2: White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest this afternoon said the recording equipment used for the event malfunctioned. Earnest specifically denied that the phrase was intentionally left out. I’d like to hear the recording.