I believe that way too much is being made of White House economics adviser Gene Sperling’s comment to Bob Woodward that he would “regret” taking the position that the White House was moving the goal posts by asking for tax increases to resolve the sequester. Some in the media are taking it as a threat to Woodward either personally or professionally or both.
When you read the Sperling-Woodward emails*, it is obvious that Sperling believes Woodward would be embarrassed on the merits and historical accuracy of his claim, not that he’d better check under his car before starting it.
“But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand bargain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA [the Budget Control Act]: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)”
This isn’t threatening, it’s wonky!
* “Exclusive: The Woodward, Sperling emails revealed,” Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, Politico