White House economic adviser Gene Sperling reacted to his highly publicized email dispute with famed Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward during appearances on two Sunday public affairs programs—ABC's "This Week" and NBC's "Meet The Press." Sperling spoke of what he called his longstanding, respectful relationship with Woodward and hoped they could put the fracas behind them. Woodward, who appeared CBS' Sunday show "Face the Nation," responded to Sperling's request.
Earlier this week, Woodward tangled with Sperling when he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that a top Obama economic adviser made him feel "very uncomfortable" when he was told that he would "regret" comments he made about Obama's handling of the sequester negotiations. He did not dispute Blitzer or other media organization's conclusion that he had been "threatened." When Politico released the email exchange between Woodward and the Obama adviser (Sperling), many members of the media deemed the exchange far from threatening and accused Woodward of mischaracterizing the conversation.
"I've known Bob Woodward for 20 years, we've had a very friendly and respectful relationship. I think virtually everybody who has looked at my email to him and his reply to me thought those emails reflected that degree of respect and politeness," Sperling told "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos.
He added, "All I can say is that Bob Woodward is a legend. I hope that him and I can put this behind us … I haven't talked to him yet but I hope to. I hope we can put it behind us. Because I think we both care about the policy issues we were debating and I think we both think that that's where the focus of our national debate should be, not on our email exchange."
On NBC's "Meet The Press," Sperling further defended his email to Woodward while speaking to host David Gregory. "I think that email was cordial. It was substantive. It was polite," he said.
Woodward appeared on CBS' "Face The Nation" and responded to Sperling's comments. Host Bob Schieffer quoted Sperling as saying that he hoped he and Woodward could move on from the dispute. "And the answer is yes," Woodward said. "He's a peacemaker. I'm in the business of listening and I'm going to invite him over to my house if he'll come and hopefully he'll bring others from the White House—maybe the president himself ... Talking really works."