Entries in Washington Post (6)


White House Aide Pfeiffer Apologizes for Churchill Bust Controversy

(WASHINGTON) -- After lampooning Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer last week for getting his facts wrong on the controversy surrounding the White House Winston Churchill bust, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer has apologized.

On Friday, Pfeiffer slammed Krauthammer for repeating “this ridiculous claim” that President Obama had removed the bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office and sent it back to the British Embassy.

It was later discovered, as ABC's Jake Tapper reported, that there are actually two Winston Churchill busts. One was loaned to the George W. Bush administration and later returned when President Obama took office, the other now resides in the White House.

“I take your criticism seriously and you are correct that you are owed an apology,” Pfeiffer wrote Krauthammer. “There was clearly an internal confusion about the two busts and there was no intention to deceive. I clearly overshot the runway in my post.”

Here is Pfeiffer’s full apology:

The Churchill Bust & Charles Krauthammer

Yesterday following his column, I sent the following email to Charles Krauthammer. Charles asked that I make the email public and I have agreed.


I take your criticism seriously and you are correct that you are owed an apology. There was clearly an internal confusion about the two busts and there was no intention to deceive. I clearly overshot the runway in my post. The point I was trying to make – under the belief that the Bust in the residence was the one previously in the Oval Office -- was that this oft repeated talking point about the bust being a symbol of President Obama’s failure to appreciate the special relationship is false.  The bust that was returned was returned as a matter of course with all the other artwork that had been loaned to President Bush for display in his Oval Office and not something that President Obama or his Administration chose to do. I still think this is an important point and one I wish I had communicated better.

A better understanding of the facts on my part and a couple of deep breaths at the outset would have prevented this situation.  Having said all that, barring a miracle comeback from the Phillies I would like to see the Nats win a world series even if it comes after my apology.


Dan Pfeiffer

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How Romney Got Short-Sheeted, Pranked Back by Pretending Maid Was Fired

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- According to senior strategist Eric Fehrnstrom, former Governor Mitt Romney reportedly had a reputation as a prankster among his staff.

At a Washington Post Live event on Saturday, Romney adviser Peter Flaherty told the Post’s Dan Balz that the biggest misperception about Mitt Romney “is that he’s stiff,” prompting Balz to ask, “What’s the most fun you’ve ever had with the governor? What’s the most fun moment?”

Fehrnstrom recounted the time a Massachusetts state trooper short-sheeted Romney’s hotel bed, and the governor responded by convincing the trooper a maid had been fired as a result.

“I remember one trip he took as governor, one of the troopers who was assigned to his protective detail short-sheeted his bed. Now that in itself should tell you something about governor Romney, that a state trooper who’s assigned to protect him would be emboldened enough to short-sheet his bed, but he did,” Fehrnstrom said.

“The governor, in order to turn the tables on the trooper, sat down and composed a letter as if it had been written by the hotel manager, addressed to himself as the governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, apologized for the bad housekeeping and the shortsheeting of his bed and informed him that we have taken action to fire the chambermaid responsible.

“The governor showed that to the trooper that had short-sheeted the bed, and of course his face went white, he was aghast, that something like that had happened. So I think that gives you an example” of the governor’s lighter side, Fehrnstrom said.

Why don’t we see more of Romney the prankster? Balz asked.

“Well, we’ll send him over to your house — he’ll short-sheet your bed if that makes you feel better,” Fehrnstrom replied.

Later at the event, an audience member suggested to Fehrnstrom that the story wouldn’t have been so funny to the maid.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Poll: Presidential Hopeful Pawlenty a Stranger to Most Republicans

Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has some major catching up to do if he wants to make a serious run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Pawlenty, who announced this week he was forming an exploratory committee to raise funds for a possible White House bid, is not exactly the most recognizable name among the list of potential GOP candidates.

His problems might be deeper than he imagined if the results of a new Washington Post poll are to be believed.  According to the survey, six out of ten registered Republicans admit they "don't know" who Pawlenty is.

Ironically, the chief complaint made about Pawlenty during the final two years of his governorship was that he spent more time zooming around the country in an effort to become a household name than he did working on the issues affecting Minnesotans.

As for Republicans who do know who Pawlenty is, 27 percent said their impressions of him were favorable, 15 percent said they were unfavorable and the rest, perhaps most telling, had no opinion.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Biden Hires 'Washington Post' Reporter as Communications Director

Pete Souza/White House Photo(WASHINGTON) -- Shailagh Murray of the Washington Post has been tapped for the role of communications director to the vice president, the White House announced Friday.  Murray will replace Jay Carney, who left Vice President Biden’s office to become the White House press secretary.

“Shailagh’s years of experience covering a broad array of issues ranging from domestic policy to foreign affairs make her uniquely positioned to lead our communications team,” Biden said in a statement. “She is as well-respected among her peers as she is versed in the serious issues facing our nation and the world.  Her leadership and counsel will be invaluable to me, and to the entire administration.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Washington Post' Political Correspondent David Broder Dies

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Political writer David Broder has died at 81. The longtime Washington Post columnist, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the Watergate story, had diabetes and died Wednesday in Arlington, Virginia.

Mr. Broder was often called the dean of the Washington press corps -- a nickname he earned in his late 30s in part for the clarity of his political analysis and the influence he wielded as a perceptive thinker on political trends in his books, articles and television appearances.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who knew Broder as a fellow journalist and also from Stephanopoulos' days as a White House spokesman, says Broder played it straight: "He was the definition of a reporter's reporter who always wanted to start out with what he could find out...With the facts, with the questions." 

In 1973, Mr. Broder and the Post each won Pulitzers for their coverage of the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard M. Nixon's resignation. Mr. Broder's honor was for explaining the importance of the Watergate fallout in a clear and compelling way. "Those were the glory days of the Washington Post and David Broder was already the lead of their political team," added Stephanopoulos.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gingrich to GOP: Shut Gov’t Down If You Have To, ‘95 Wasn’t So Bad

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Contrary to the conventional wisdom that the government shutdown of 1995 helped pave the way for President Bill Clinton's re-election victory the next year with the passage of a balanced budget agreement, Newt Gingrich is arguing more than a decade-and-a-half later that the "facts are exactly the opposite."

With just days to go before lawmakers return to Washington to try to hash out an agreement to avert a federal government shutdown this year, Gingrich offered a message for Republican leaders in an Op-Ed to be published in this Sunday’s Washington Post: "Work to keep the government open," but if you have to, don't hesitate to shut it down.

In the piece, Gingrich also argues that it was Republicans -- not Democrats -- who actually fared better politically in the aftermath of the 1995 shutdown led by the former GOP House Speaker.

"This historic success was not an achievement of the Clinton administration," Gingrich writes, referring to the budget deal. "In the summer of 1995, administration officials publicly expressed doubt that our aggressive timeline for a balanced budget was even possible. Instead, the balanced budget was an outcome driven by House Republicans with limited support from skeptical Senate Republicans."

None of it would have been possible, the potential 2012 presidential candidates argues, "had Republicans not stood firm in 1995."

But Clinton emerged from the crisis looking like a leader on budget issues. His approval rating inched up, and after the bruising Republican Revolution of 1994, he went on to score a decisive victory over GOP nominee Bob Dole and Reform Party candidate Ross Perot in the 1996 presidential election.

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken shortly after the nearly three-week partial government shutdown ended that year, 75 percent of Americans said it had been a "bad thing" and about twice as many blamed Republicans in Congress (50 percent) as the Clinton administration (27 percent) for it. Half of Americans -- 50 percent -- approved of how President Clinton handled the situation compared to 22 percent approval for Republicans.

But in hindsight, Gingrich writes in the Post that there was actually an electoral silver lining for Republicans in 1996.

"Those who claim that the shutdown was politically disastrous for Republicans ignore the fact that our House seat losses in 1996 were in the single digits. Moreover, it was the first time in 68 years that Republicans were reelected to a House majority -- and the first time that had ever happened with a Democrat winning the presidency."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio