Woodward: White House Blames Me for Starting Media Criticism of Obama’s Lack of Leadership
The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward made an interesting observation Sunday.
Appearing on Fox News’s MediaBuzz, he claimed that the White House blames him for starting the media’s criticism of President Obama’s lack of leadership (video follows with transcript and commentary):
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: You concluded in your book "The Price of Politics" that President Obama in the great budget battle had failed to lead. Now we're hearing that he failed to lead on NSA foreign surveillance, didn't know the details. We're hearing that he failed to lead on the ObamaCare rollout, didn’t know about the technical problems. Has it taken the media too long to reach this analysis?
BOB WOODWARD, WASHINGTON POST: Well, you've got to be empirical about it. In “The Price of Politics” I was being empirical, and that's not to take the Republicans off the hook for all the budget problems. But the President’s the CEO of the country, and has to find a way to work his will. As you recount all of this, and as I do, you see that the President is the one who calls people to the White House. They don't call him to the Congress. And…
KURTZ: But it's more than being empirical.
WOODWARD: …he’s got the hammer.
KURTZ: You as an author had to reach a conclusion.
KURTZ: And some people criticized you for that.
WOODWARD: That’s correct.
KURTZ: And I understand that even today some in the White House are not that happy with Bob Woodward's reporting.
WOODWARD: Yeah, because they said I started it. It was kind of the first time somebody said…
KURTZ: Started what?
WOODWARD: Started this idea of he's got to lead, and he's too passive at times on these budget issues. And…
KURTZ: Is the White House official who told you that accurate? Was the person angry? Are they blaming you for this?
WOODWARD: Well, they never, as you know, no one likes to be criticized and called out. But, you know, they deal with reporters. I think the temperature’s going up right now days as there is more and more criticism on the President's comments on ObamaCare, that, you know, if you like it, you'll keep it. And somebody’s found 29 times that he said that and…
KURTZ: Yeah, I've seen it at least 29 times on the air.
For those that have forgotten, Woodward wrote an article in February critical of the President's handling of the fiscal cliff negotiations at the end of last year while also making it clear that Obama was the one that first proposed sequestration.
Days later it was revealed that he received an email from a very senior person at the White House saying he would regret this article.
At the time, much of the media predictably took Obama's side and came down on Woodward.
With the disaster that has been the ObamaCare rollout, some are now singing a different tune.