Bob Woodward: The White House told me I'd regret challenging them

Via John Sexton of, I’d sure like to know which ray of Hopeychangey sunshine shared this bit of bright good cheer with Woodward. To be clear, he doesn’t specifically say it was someone inside the White House; I’m assuming that from Politico’s description of this very short clip (“Bob Woodward pulled back the curtain on his battle with the White House over a recent column on the sequester”), but maybe it’s someone from outside the building. Jim Messina, maybe? Remember, he’s into “punching back twice as hard.”

Good point from John:

The clip also helps explain why Woodward took off the gloves this morning on MSNBC. Not here, though: Even when he’s telling Politico about being threatened by Obama’s lackeys, he feels inexplicably compelled to say that The One would surely disapprove if he found out. But why? Letting surrogates do his dirty work has always been key to Bambi’s above-the-fray brand. It started before he became president; it continued in last year’s campaign; it goes on happening today. Would a man who chose Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, for cripes sake, be shy about playing rough with people? There’s nothing unusual about a pol getting surrogates to fling shinola on his behalf. What’s unusual is that Obama, uniquely, continues to get a pass for it, even by people who claim that his toadies have threatened them.

Update: Here we go.

Update: Annnnd the truth-to-power left springs into action to protect Precious:

Update: Here’s Politico’s write-up of their interview with Woodward, in which he makes clear that he took the e-mail as a threat.

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.”

Woodward repeated the last sentence, making clear he saw it as a veiled threat. “ ‘You’ll regret.’ Come on,” he said. “I think if Obama himself saw the way they’re dealing with some of this, he would say, ‘Whoa, we don’t tell any reporter ‘you’re going to regret challenging us.’ ”