The senior White House official who told Bob Woodward in an e-mail that he would “regret” questioning the administration’s account of the impending sequester has been identified as Gene Sperling, economic adviser to the president.
“It was said very clearly, ‘You will regret doing this,” The Washington Post’s Woodward told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Wednesday night. “It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters that you are going to regret doing something that you believe in — and even if you don’t look at it that way [as a threat], you do look at it,” he said.
On Thursday, Politico released the text
of the email exchange between Sperling and Woodward.
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On Feb. 22, Sperling wrote, “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.”
He continued, “I do truly believe that you should rethink your comment about 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.”
Woodward replied the next day, writing, “You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them.”
Woodward first made waves last Friday when he attacked Obama in an op-ed piece, saying “My extensive reporting for my book ‘The Price of Politics’ shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of [Jack] Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.”
Speaking with Blitzer about his ‘goal posts’ accusation, Woodward said, “It’s irrefutable. That’s exactly what happened. I’m not saying that this moving of the goal posts is some criminal act. I’m just saying that’s what happened.”
Woodward is scheduled to appear on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Thursday night.
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