Bob Woodward appeared on on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning, saying the President was exhibiting a “kind of madness I haven’t seen in a long time” for a decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf because of budget concerns. But he saved the best for Wolf Blitzer on CNN this afternoon. He told Blitzer that a “very senior person” at the White House warned him that he would “regret doing this.” Wolf Blitzer said that the network invited a White House official to debate Woodward on-air, but the White House declined.
“I think they’re confused,” Woodward told Wolf Blitzer. Woodward apparently went on to criticize Obama further over the sequester the same day he received the warning from the White House.
“It makes me very uncomfortable for the White House to be telling reporters, you are going to ‘regret’ doing something that you believe in,” he added. “It’s Mickey Mouse.”
Woodward told Politico what lead to the threat
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Bob Woodward called a senior White House official last week to tell him that in a piece in that weekend’s Washington Post, he was going to question President Barack Obama’s account of how sequestration came about – and got a major-league brushback. The Obama aide “yelled at me for about a half hour,” Woodward told us in an hour-long interview yesterday around the Georgetown dining room table where so many generations of Washington’s powerful have spilled their secrets. Digging into one of his famous folders, Woodward said the tirade was followed by a page-long email from the aide, one of the four or five administration officials most closely involved in the fiscal negotiations with the Hill. “I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today,” the official typed. “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.”
As a young reporter Woodward faced down the Nixon administration, he doesn’t frighten easly:
“They have to be willing to live in the world where they’re challenged,” Woodward continued in his calm, instantly recognizable voice. “I’ve tangled with lots of these people. But suppose there’s a young reporter who’s only had a couple of years — or 10 years’ — experience and the White House is sending him an email saying, ‘You’re going to regret this.’ You know, tremble, tremble. I don’t think it’s the way to operate.”