Drive-Bys Side with White House, Throw Media Icon Bob Woodward Under Bus
Feb 28, 2013
RUSH: I don’t know, folks. I don’t know. I’m just not sure that what we’re dealing with here is a “you’re gonna have a dead horse in your bed tomorrow morning” kind of threat. I don’t think that’s what we’re dealing with. I do think the White House is gonna take care of Woodward with a death panel down the road. That’s how they’re gonna deal with this. We’ll never know. Woodward’s gonna get sick and the death panel will come in there and that will be that.
No. No, no. There’s not gonna be a drone with his name on it. They’ll just do it with a death panel, just handle that with death panel. So, you know, you can go either way on this. And, by the way, I do not doubt that the White House has threatened reporters. I don’t doubt that. I think one of the most prescient things that Woodward said was in explaining — and he thinks he was threatened. And Lanny Davis is raising his hand (paraphrasing), “Hey, I was threatened, too, and I have ‘poof.’ I have ‘poof’ that I was threatened.” And then Robert B. Reichhhhhhhhhh is saying (paraphrasing), “If they were threatened, it’s outrageous.”
Now, what Woodward said was that he can take it, that he’s been around. He’s an old timer. He’s seen it all. He’s dealt with Nixon, and that’s, by the way, what I think he meant when he said “madness” that he hasn’t seen in a long time. I think he’s comparing Obama to Nixon, there’s no question about it. He said (paraphrasing), “Look, I can handle it. If they threaten me, I can handle it. It’s the young reporters who want access, somebody in the White House threatens ’em, can get ’em to snap right to.” And I totally believe that that’s happened. I’m just not sure that that’s what this was.
I’ve read Sperling’s e-mail. That’s the e-mail that contains the “you’ll regret this.” And the way I read it, Sperling is telling Woodward you’re gonna regret this ’cause you’re wrong. You’re gonna regret it as a journalist. But Woodward is taking it as a threat, so that’s how we’re gonna deal with it. Well, “you’ll regret this” in “Chicagospeak” means that you’re gonna have a dead horse bleeding in your bed tomorrow morning or some morning, that’s “Chicagospeak.” But Sperling… I don’t know. Look, the conventional wisdom is that it’s a threat. That’s what everybody’s going with. To me, here’s the story.
This is the story to me. Who is Woodward? Woodward is the reason that 99% of these so-called journalists got into the business. And they are throwing him overboard in favor of Obama. That’s the story. The guy who is the Walter Cronkite today. In the journalist circles, Woodward is it. Woodward, Bernstein are the reason people — Woodward primarily, are the reason people went into journalism. That and 60 Minutes. ‘Cause 60 Minutes you got to destroy people while on TV. But Woodward, he destroyed a president. That’s another reason to go into journalism. And they’re throwing him overboard.
I mean, for the most part, the Drive-Bys are siding with Obama. They’re siding with the White House. That, to me, is the big story out of all this. So that’s the umbrella. There’s a lot of stuff underneath that that we’ll get to on today’s program.
RUSH: Now keep in mind, I’m not sure that Woodward was actually threatened, but he thinks he was, and that’s what counts. If he was offended, that’s all that matters. We’ve learned that.
He thinks he was threatened, and that’s the key, and he’s telling everybody he was. Lanny Davis has proof that he was threatened. I don’t doubt the White House did it. I mean, that’s how this type of president and regime operates. I have no doubt they threaten reporters every day. Sharyl Attkisson, do you remember her? She was the CBS infobabe who really dug deep on Fast and Furious, and she did a report on the air on CBS about how they were yelling at her and screaming at her on the phone for what she was doing.
So there’s no doubt that the regime attempts to intimidate reporters, and there’s no doubt that they threaten ’em. They don’t have to, is the bottom line. They’re throwing Woodward overboard. The Drive-Bys are throwing him overboard. MSNBC is throwing him overboard. Media Matters for America is throwing Woodward overboard. That’s, I will admit, kind of… I was waiting for this. This is what was interesting to me about this since it happened.
On whose side will the Drive-Bys come down, Obama or Woodward? I actually thought that more people would defend Woodward than are, but they’re coming out of the woodwork and ripping him to shreds. Oh, and one other thing. Woodward, when he said it’s been “a long time” since he’s seen this kind of “madness,” there’s no question he’s talking about Nixon. That’s his formative experience. He destroyed the Nixon presidency. Nixon was mad.
I just wanted to say, I was on the cutting edge here, folks. I want to take you back August 21st, 2009. This is Obama’s first year, basically his seventh or eighth month in office, and I offered this comparison to those of you in this audience…
RUSH ARCHIVE: You know, to Obama the devil is anybody who doesn’t blindly follow him. I think Obama is coming off as two levels below Nixon even on Nixon’s best day.
RUSH: That’s right. It was I, El Rushbo, who first drew the comparison to Obama and Nixon. I think I even did it during the 2008 presidential campaign.
RUSH: I’m having a… Ah, what’s the word? There are two things that Woodward reported, and I can’t remember one of them. Two things here have caused the White House to get upset. One of them is, Woodward reported that Obama was the one who came up with the idea for the sequester. But that’s not the e-mail. That isn’t what Sperling wrote Woodward about.
Darn it, I’m having a mental block here on what it was that Sperling was chastising Woodward for. There was another aspect to Woodward’s reporting about this that was… Well, there was something about it. Woodward’s comment about madness was Obama’s refusing to deploy an aircraft carrier, for example, in the Middle East ’cause of a budget document, and he started comparing other presidents who would certainly not have failed to defend the country.
He said they would not have failed to do their presidential duty because of a budget document. But I’m having a mental block. There were two items. The thing that I think the White House is really ticked about (and this is not what Sperling’s e-mail was about) is that Obama did not come up with the idea. Obama’s trying to create the impression that the sequester was not his idea, that it was the Republicans’ idea.
The first thing that got this off and running was Woodward writing a column and going on television and reminding everybody the sequester was indeed Obama’s idea, and then the idea over who had control of what does get cut during the sequester. (That’s also Obama.) Woodward was pointing that out, too. I tried to find it during the break, and I just remembered it.
The reason I’m doing this, folks, is because a lot of people are disagreeing with me here that Woodward actually wasn’t threatened. It got me to thinking that the Sperling e-mail to Woodward saying, “You’ll regret reporting this” was not about Woodward accusing Obama of being the architect of the sequester. (It was his idea.) It was something else. It’s that that I can’t remember, and it’s that that makes me think that Sperling was not threatening.
But regardless, Woodward thinks he’s being threatened, and we know the regime does threaten. They’re entirely capable of it. It is how they operate. They do use intimidation. They do fearmonger. I mean, they try to scare the American people. The idea that they wouldn’t try to fearmonger reporters about access or anything else is ridiculous as well. So I’m gonna find out what I’m talking about here just to set the table. I don’t have these mental blocks very often. They really frustrate me.
RUSH: I found what I was looking for. Everybody, I think… Oh, I shouldn’t say “everybody.” I think a lot of people are laboring under a misunderstanding. I think that people think that the White House threatened Woodward because Woodward was writing that the sequester was Obama’s idea. That’s not what they were threatening him about. What they were threatening him for was Sperling said that Woodward was going to regret writing that the president was trying to “move the goalposts” by trying to replace the sequester with a mix of tax increases and spending cuts instead of solely spending cuts.
So Sperling said to Woodward, “You’re gonna regret writing that,” meaning, “You’re gonna regret saying that the president was trying to move the goalposts,” in other words: Change the deal so that no deal could be reached. And, by the way, Obama does do that. If you recall the fiscal cliff, Boehner, in a moment of frustration, gave Obama everything he wanted on the so-called revenue/tax increase-side, and Obama refused it. Because he didn’t want a deal.
There can’t be a deal, there can’t be any common ground, because that would require Obama putting his name to something. Obama can never be seen governing. None of this that happens can ever be seen to be happening because Obama did something or agreed to something. Everything must happen because somebody else is doing it, in this case the Republicans. That’s why I’ve always said there is no common ground. There is no way for the two sides to come together.
Bipartisanship is impossible, for two reasons: The two sides don’t agree on anything, but secondly Obama doesn’t want an agreement, and he didn’t want an agreement on the sequester. So Woodward is writing that Obama is moving the goalposts, essentially saying what I just said, that Obama doesn’t want a deal; he’s moving the goalposts. That’s what Sperling was reacting to, and that’s what Woodward thinks that he was threatened over.
But don’t forget also that it was Woodward who wrote and was on television saying that the sequester was Obama’s idea. So there are two things going on here. The White House “note suggested that Mr. Woodward would regret the observation he made regarding the sequester because that observation was inaccurate, nothing more. And Mr. Woodward responded to this aide’s email in a friendly manner,” and this is exactly what Obama did with the grand bargain during the fiscal cliff, which I just talked about.
Basically Boehner gives Obama everything he wants, and Obama says, “Nope, not enough,” and then asks for more, making a deal impossible. So there are two things that are working here. The bottom line of this is, whether I think the White House was threatening Woodward or not is irrelevant. He does. And they yelled at Woodward. There was a 30-minute shouting session before the e-mail was sent. Let’s go to the audiotape and let’s actually listen to Woodward on that.
This is last night on CNN’s the Situation Room. He’s on with Wolf Blitzer. Blitzer is conflicted. All these media guys are conflicted. They loved Woodward. Woodward is their god, Woodward is their idol, but Obama’s the Creator! Who do they side with? They can’t believe that Woodward is actually not helping Obama here. So Blitzer says, “You’re used to this kind of stuff,” being threatened by presidents, “but share with our viewers what’s going on between you and the White House.”
WOODWARD: Well, they’re not happy at all and some people kind of, you know, said, “Look, we don’t see eye-to-eye on this.” They never really said, though, afterwards they’ve said that this is factually wrong and they — and it was said to me in an e-mail by a top official —
BLITZER: What was said?
WOODWARD: It was said very clearly, “You will regret doing that.”
BLITZER: Who sent that e-mail to you?
WOODWARD: Well, I’m not gonna say.
BLITZER: Was it a senior person at the White House?
WOODWARD: A very senior person.
RUSH: We now know it was Gene Sperling, who’s an economic adviser. He’s been around with Clinton. He’s been around a long time now with Obama. It was Gene Sperling, and the e-mail said, “You are going to regret doing this.” Again, that is in reference Woodward reporting that Obama was moving the goalposts, thereby preventing a deal from being made. Blitzer’s next question was asking Woodward to expand on what he had just said.
WOODWARD: It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters you’re gonna regret doing something that you believe in, and even though we don’t look at it that way, you do look at it that way. I think if Barack Obama knew that was part of the communications strategy — let’s hope it’s not a strategy, that it’s a tactic that somebody’s employed — he’d say, “Look, we don’t go around trying to say to reporters, ‘If you, in an honest way, present something we don’t like,’ that, you know, ‘you’re gonna regret this.'” It’s Mickey Mouse.
RUSH: Well, you notice Woodward saying, “I think if Obama knew that this was going on…” So Woodward himself is throwing up a little cloak of defense there. He’s accusing the regime of threatening him, but not Obama. Obama doesn’t even know — and if Obama knew, I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate this. That’s Woodward. I think that’s a tantamount admission Woodward’s scared. That’s why I think he thinks he feels threatened, ’cause he’s absolving Obama of any role in this. And, folks, I hope by now…
We’ve had all these questions, “How does a guy like Van Jones end up in that administration, Rush? How does Obama get fooled with a guy like that?” He’s not fooled. He picked Van Jones! I’m telling you: Obama knows everybody in this administration; he wants them doing what they’re doing. The idea that Obama doesn’t know…? The way to put this is: Obama issues the orders, Obama is the teacher, and Obama tells these people and shows them how to deal with these reporters.
The idea that in this man’s administration we have so many freelancers that are operating off the grid or outside the proper boundaries is ridiculous. We don’t have that. Obama’s not the kind of guy that’s gonna tolerate freelancers like this. He’s not gonna tolerate people off the reservation issuing their own threats. They’re just not gonna do it unless they know that he’s entirely comfortable with it. There’s no question he’s the head of the family, if you want to put it that way. Look, this administration is a reflection of Obama.
It’s not a bunch of renegades who are acting without Obama’s knowledge. He’s not one of these distant, unattached chief executives. Not when it comes to the media. I think what we have here is plausible deniability. You know, Richard Daley didn’t personally have to issue threats. His lackeys did it, but they all knew where it was coming from. I think… I don’t want to put words in Bob Woodward’s mouth, but I think this business of, “I think if Obama that this was part of the strategy, and let’s hope it’s not a strategy, it’s a tactic…”
See, Woodward later on expresses fear for how this would work on a younger reporter. Not him, you see? He been around a long time. Woodward, he’s seen it all. He’s dealt with these kinds of people, he said. But you get some young whippersnapper in there and they will be frightened of such threats from high-ranking regime officials, and they can be kept in line. The bottom line is, I don’t think they have to crack the whip. The fact that so many people on the left in the media and outside the media on the left are throwing Woodward overboard, is a tantamount admission.
And, by the way, Obama’s from Chicago. This is the Daley way. This is — as they said in the movie The Untouchables — “the Chicago way.” This is it. But the fact that Woodward acknowledged, “If Obama knew about this, I don’t think he would like this at all,” says a lot to me — and then Lanny Davis. This morning on our blowtorch affiliate in the nation’s capital, WMAL, the radio program Mornings On the Mall, they talked to Lanny Davis. He’s the lawyer that was on TV during the Clinton years defending him to the hilt during the Lewinsky scandal.
DAVIS: That exact thing happened to me. When I had my column in The Washington Times, the editor John Solomon received a phone call from a senior Obama White House official who didn’t like some of my columns. Even though I’m a supporter of Obama, I couldn’t imagine why this call was made. And he did threaten that if he continued to run my columns, he would lose, or his reporters would lose, their White House credentials.
RUSH: Well, that’s not unique. Other regimes have threatened reporters with the loss of credentials. What is of note here is, to the extent that any low-information people are paying attention, this has to come as a surprise to them. I don’t think they see Obama this way at all. And maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they do and they like it. Maybe the low-information voters look at Obama as a king, want him to act like a king, want him to be able to make anything happen with a signature. In fact, they probably do, many of the low-information people that voted for Obama. So Brian Wilson at WMAL said, “‘We’re going to take away your White House press credentials’? That threat was actually made?”
DAVIS: I called three senior people at the White House, and one from outside the White House who was close to the White House, and I said, “I want this person to be told this can never happen again, and it’s inappropriate.” I got a call back from someone within the White House saying it will never happen again. Firstly, you don’t threaten anyone. Secondly, you don’t threaten Bob Woodward. He’s one of the best reporters ever. He’s factual. You can disagree with facts that he reports, but he’s factual. Don’t mess with him about his facts. You can mess with him about the interpretation of his facts, but this is not a reporter you tangle with.
RUSH: See what I mean? He’s infallible. Woodward is infallible, and the reporters are throwing him overboard. You just heard Lanny Davis, “You can challenge his facts, but he’s factual.” All you can do is challenge the interpretation of his facts, but you don’t threaten Bob Woodward. Well, the White House did threaten Woodward, and the rest of the media is siding with the White House. Now, last night on CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront, she spoke with the former Labor Secretary Robert B. Reichhhhhhhhhhhhh about all of this, and she said, “That’s impressive. ‘You’ll regret doing this’ from someone in the White House?”
REICH: Well, I think that’s pretty outrageous if that came from somebody in the White House.
RUSH: “That’s pretty outrageous,” says former Labor Secretary Reich. Pretty outrageous if that happens. Wow. It took me longer to pronounce his name than hear his sound bite. For those of you new to the program, I’m not making fun of the former labor secretary. He used to have commentary on the nightly MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, and at the end of his commentary he would always sign off by saying, “I am Robert B. Reichhhh” as a signature way. So, I just, as all good impersonators do, exaggerate a signature item, and that’s why we pronounce it that way.
RUSH: David Plouffe, Obama campaign aide, tweeted the following about Woodward: “Watching Woodward last 2 days is like imagining my idol Mike Schmidt facing live pitching again. Perfection gained once is rarely repeated.” That’s the regime’s guy basically saying Woodward is old; he’s over the hill; he’s never gonna be great again. That’s a slice and dice.