Lanny Davis: White House threatened my editor

Former Clinton aide explains what teed off the Obama administration


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 29, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: Continuing now with our lead story. The Obama administration objecting to critical reporting of it. Speaking on the radio today, former Clinton advisor Lanny Davis said that while he was writing a column his editor was threatened by the Obama Administration.


DAVIS: He received a phone call from a senior Obama White House official who didn't like some of my columns, even though I'm a supporter of him, I couldn't imagine why this call was made. And he did threaten and the word I was told was the word "threaten" by this editor that if he continued to run my columns, he would lose or his reporters would lose their White House credentials.


O'REILLY: And joining us now from Washington is Mr. Davis. So first of all, what do you think teed off the Obama Administration? What did you write about them?

DAVIS: You know I went back to read my columns 95 percent of them were supporting President Obama. I'm guess that I criticized at times their handling of the stories. The crisis management sides of the communication shop and I think that might have gotten under the skin of the person who made the phone call.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, who is the White House guy who threatened the editor?

DAVIS: I can't tell that you because the editor when he called me said I have to ask you to honor the request that you never mention the name of the person who called me because he said it was off the record. So I talk to the editor --


O'REILLY: Ok so let me get this straight. So -- so let me get this straight your editor agreed to be threatened and not to publicize who is doing the threat? That doesn't sound right. That doesn't sound right to me man. I have been a reporter for more than 35 years. I don't give anybody off the record credence if they are going to threaten me. Do you know what I'm talking about?

DAVIS: Well, he asked me to keep it anonymous and I have got to honor that.

O'REILLY: All right, you're an honorable man. Ok. Now, you were in -- Clinton White House. I mean, they did the same thing Bill and Hillary they don't like people criticizing them, did they?

DAVIS: Look, there is nothing wrong with pushing back as Ed Henry said. And I don't think Gene Sperling -- I accept your interpretation -- intended it to be a threat. But he should have been on the White House lawn yesterday saying you know I used the word you're going to regret it I respect Bob Woodward he's a great reporter. We have a disagreement. And I apologize if there was a misinterpretation.

This story -- I wouldn't be on tonight if they had done it yesterday. But waiting is another example of crisis mismanagement.

O'REILLY: No but it's more than that. Plouffe goes and Twitters that Woodward is a has-been. Come on.

DAVIS: I can't figure that -- David Plouffe is a pro. Why in god's name would he take on an icon, one of the great reporters of our age and still doing.


O'REILLY: But he did it, I don't know why did he it but he did it. Now you dodged my question -- you dodged my question very neatly, Lanny. But you know you can't slip it by me. Bill and Hillary Clinton if they criticize them they do the same thing.

DAVIS: Ok so Bill and Hillary Clinton as far as I know never threatened a reporter. They were unhappy with critical reporting -- every White House is. Reagan, Carter, Clinton, Bush -- there isn't a single White House that loves the White House reporters. But I never was aware of anybody being threatened. And I accept Gene Sperling's explanation he didn't intend that but no I don't believe he intended anything like that.

O'REILLY: All right, do you believe based on your personal experience that the Obama Administration is more sensitive than the other people and overreacts to media criticism? Do you believe that?

DAVIS: No. They are no different than any other White House which is sensitive to criticism and sometimes has individuals acting stupidly. This one individual who called my editor made some very serious threats against me professionally. I called several people at the White House and 48 hours later I was told it's over it will never happen again.

O'REILLY: But you're still protecting this weasel.

DAVIS: I have to under the obligation of my --

O'REILLY: You have to protect the weasel? All right.

DAVIS: Well.


O'REILLY: Why don't you tell us somebody else -- tell us somebody and have them call me.


O'REILLY: All right. Lanny.

DAVIS: Thank you Bill.

O'REILLY: Lanny's new book "Crisis Tales". It's going to be out next week. So check it out.

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