White House: Sorry, Charles

Katie Pavlich

8/1/2012 7:45:00 AM - Katie Pavlich

In case you missed it, Charles Krauthammer wrote a fantastic piece after the White House denied removing a Winston Churchill bust from the Oval Office. Guy wrote about this earlier this week:

Kevin apprised you of this controversy late last week, so here's the Cliffs Notes version: Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote a syndicated piece on Friday, in which he recapitulated an anecdote about President Obama returning a bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.  The sculpture had been lent to President Bush in 2001, who placed it prominently in the Oval Office. Obama sent it back to the Brits in 2009, despite an offer to extend the loan. This caused a bit of a diplomatic stir.  Following the publication of Krauthammer's commentary, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer authored an irate "fact check" blog post on the White House website, claiming that the column was "patently false," based on "rumor," "ridiculous," and "100 percent false." He asserted that the bust remains in the White House to this day, citing photo evidence from 2010 to back the claim. Guess who turned out to be 100 percent wrong?

Not only was Pfeiffer wrong, but actually issued an official apology to Krauthammer last night on WhiteHouse.gov:

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

Charles,

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

Thanks,

 Dan Pfeiffer

"Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter." -Winston Churchill

I'd say Krauthammer is a pretty good general.