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article imageOp-Ed: Woodward vs Obama on sequester - Who would you believe?

By Karl Gotthardt     Feb 28, 2013 in Politics
Washington - Known for his ability to shift blame and appealing to the public, President Obama has run into an obstacle. Well-respected journalist and author Bob Woodward put the blame for the sequester in the lap of the President. Who is more believable?
In a column written in the Washington Post last weekend, Bob Woodward said that the President was moving the goalposts when he is asking to substitute the sequester for not just spending cuts but also new revenue. Woodward asserts that the final deal reached between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on.
Woodward said, “Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D-Nev.]. They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.”
The comments have resulted in an extraordinary clash between the White House and the veteran journalist. Woodward has been making the cable TV and print outlets claiming that a very senior White House staffer had threatened him ahead of the column being published. Woodward did not identify the staffer.
Fox News reports
that the staffer was National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling. The report goes on to say that Woodward told Politico that he was yelled at by an aide, apparently Sperling, and then received a long e-mail from the aide, who apologized for raising his voice but added that he thought Woodward would regret this.
According to Politico, Woodward said he was "yelled at" by an Obama aide over his weekend column in the Post. Then, he said he received a page-long email from the aide -- apparently Sperling -- that said: "I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. ... You're focusing on a few specific trees that give a very wrong impression of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here. ... I think you will regret staking out that claim."
The White House denies that Woodward was threatened have downplayed the event and that the original e-mail to Woodward was intended to apologize. According to Yahoo news the White House said that it does not directly dispute Woodward's reporting, but officials believe he is focusing on a moot point.
Of course no threat was intended," the White House official said. "The note suggested that Mr. Woodward would regret the observation he made regarding the sequester because that observation was inaccurate, nothing more."
What does that matter now? Not much," senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer told reporters Sunday of the debate over who concocted the sequester.
What is true now is that Republicans have decided that the sequester should go into effect," choosing cuts rather than closing loopholes, he said.
President Obama and members of his cabinet have been on blitz campaign asserting that the sky would fall on March 1. Republicans point to the fact that the sequester merely amounts to $85 billion out of a $3.8 trillion budget and really only addresses the deficit spending. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy reminds Americans that $85 billion is less than what the US borrows in less than a month.
Woodward is a credible and respected journalist. He is not susceptible to intimidation and knows how to fight back. There is no doubt that he has aggravated the president with his comments, but it is doubtful he will pull back his comments. Woodward calls the present Obama administration stance on the sequester some kind of political madness.
Since Woodward is respectable and definitely not a Republican it is pretty obvious who should be believed here. The White House push back on Woodward may just backfire as the story remains in the headlines.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Bob woodward, Sequestration, Obama, Deficit, Taxes
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