William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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WOODWARD – AT 9:21 A.M. ET:  It's all the buzz.  Bob Woodward is taking on Barack Obama bigtime.  And the tone of his comments – I don't want to put words in his mouth – suggest that he believes the Obama administration has a touch of the Nixonian in it.  It's clear Woodward doesn't like the way Obama does business.  From the Obama-friendly Politico:

Woodward — first in “The Price of Politics,” his best-seller on the failed quest for a grand budget bargain, and later with his opinion piece in the Post — makes plain that sequestration was an idea crafted by the White House. Obama personally approved the plan and later signed it into law. Woodward was right, several congressional officials involved in the talks told us.

And that contention has made Woodward, once Public Enemy No. 1 to a generation of Republicans, the unlikely darling of the right wing. Conservatives suddenly swoon over him, with his stepped-up appearances on Fox News and starring role in GOP press releases. And while White House officials are certainly within their rights to yell at any journalist, including Bob Woodward, this very public battle with a Washington legend has become a major distraction at a pivotal moment for the president.

The feud also feeds a larger narrative because, like many others, Woodward thinks this is a very thin-skinned White House that does not like being challenged on the facts. He said that explains the senior aide’s in-your-face email. “I think when they get their rear end in a crack here, they become defensive,” he said. “This could be a huge issue if the economy takes a hit. And people are going to go back and say exactly what happened and who did it and so forth.”

COMMENT:  To me, the main issue is whether Woodward's feud with the White House will lead other reporters finally to break out of the in-the-tank Obama worship and start doing some real reporting on the mess this administration is in.  There is very little presidential leadership.  Obama comes off as a petty little man, inspired by the tiny example of Jimmy Carter, with the insecurities and secretiveness of Richard Nixon. 

And there is the looming issue of an Obama foreign policy influenced by John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, two world-class appeasers and small minds.  If the crunch comes with Iran, and we fail, will NBC News finally notice?

February 28, 2013