In 2008, Barack Obama promised to have the most transparent government in U.S. history. In 2010, he claimed to have made good on that promise.
In the 2012 presidential debates, Obama claimed that the sequester, which will kick in March 1 if no deal between the White House and Congress can be reached today, was not something that he proposed.
Veteran reporter Bob Woodward exposed Obama’s tall tale about the sequester. It was something that his White House had proposed, and the president himself had signed off on.
Now Woodward finds himself under attack from the “most transparent administration in history.” Woodward has been a Washington reporter for more than 40 years. He knows a story when he sees one, and he knows a threat when he hears one. When Obama aide Gene Sperling first yelled at Woodward over his sequestration reporting, and then sent him an email saying Woodward would “regret” challenging the White House’s point of view, Woodward understood its implications. Because he knew the facts were on his side. The only way he would “regret” reporting the facts would be if the White House took action to make him regret it, by discrediting him.
The attacks on Woodward quickly became personal. Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert fired the first flare, suggesting on Twitter that Woodward should retire. Others on the left piled on, and the attack reached a crescendo last night when David Plouffe, Obama’s former senior adviser and still a strong ally of the president, tweeted this.
Watching Woodward last 2 days is like imagining my idol Mike Schmidt facing live pitching again. Perfection gained once is rarely repeated.
— David Plouffe (@davidplouffe) February 28, 2013
Plouffe’s ageist attack on Woodward, who at 69 is still one of the most dominant reporters in Washington, shocked some Beltway veterans.
WOW. MT @davidplouffe Watching Woodward is like imagining Mike Schmidt facing live pitching again. Perfection gained once rarely repeated.
— The Fix (@TheFix) February 28, 2013
The Obama White House denies that any of this — Sperling’s yelling and his email, Plouffe’s swipe at Woodward’s age — constitutes a threat. The Obama White House has reduced itself to arguing over the meaning of the word “regret.”