woodward sperling
Woodward and Sperling had an email exchange concerning the writer’s opinion piece. (AP Photo)

The Obama White House today denied that Gene Sperling, economic adviser to the president, threatened journalist Bob Woodward.
FOX News reported:

The White House is denying reports an adviser threatened famed Watergate journalist Bob Woodward after the Washington Post reporter challenged President Obama’s version of events on the looming sequester.

Woodward claimed Wednesday night that a White House aide sent him an email saying he would “regret” his comments. The aide was not identified, but an official familiar with the exchange told Fox News it was National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling. That was after Woodward wrote a column this past weekend claiming Obama was trying to re-write history — regarding not only whose idea the sequester was, but also how it would take effect.

Woodward wrote that based on his reporting earlier in the budget battle, the president was trying to move the goalposts by trying to replace the sequester with a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts — instead of solely spending cuts.

After Politico reported late Wednesday that Woodward was coming forward to claim he was threatened, a White House aide denied the claim.

Here’s one of the emails to Bob Woodward from Gene Sperling, via the Politico:

From Gene Sperling to Bob Woodward on Feb. 22, 2013

Bob:

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. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)

I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is diffferent. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.

My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.

Gene

 

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