Woodward claims White House threatened him

Bob Woodward said Wednesday that a “very senior person” at the White House told the veteran journalist and author “you will regret” faulting the Obama administration for the present fight over sequestration.

“It was said very clearly: 'you will regret doing this,'” Woodward said on CNN’s "The Situation Room." “I’m not going to say [who], a very senior person. It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters you’re going to regret doing something you believe in.”

In an op-ed published over the weekend, Woodward accused the Obama administration first of inventing the sequester, and then of “moving the goal posts” by saying any deal had to include new revenue along with the agreed-upon spending cuts.

Democrats argue that the sequester was an last-ditch effort out from the 2011 debt-ceiling fight instigated by Republicans, and that because it was never meant to be implemented, it’s not moving the goal posts to try and replace it with spending cuts and additional revenue.

“I think if Barack Obama knew that was part of the communications strategy, let’s hope it’s not a strategy, but just a tactic he’s employing, he’d say, ‘look, we don’t go around trying to say to reporters if you in an honest way present something that we don’t like, you’re going to regret this,'” Woodward continued. “It’s Mickey Mouse.”

A White House official said Woodward misconstrued the exchange and that "no threat was intended." 

"Of course no threat was intended," the aide said. "As Mr. Woodward noted, the email from the aide was sent to apologize for voices being raised in their previous conversation. The note suggested that Mr. Woodward would regret the observation he made regarding the sequester because that observation was inaccurate, nothing more. And Mr. Woodward responded to this aide's email in a friendly manner."

It’s the latest turn in the souring relationship between the White House and Woodward.

Earlier in the day, on MSNBC, Woodward called the president’s sequester strategy “madness,” saying a stronger leader would merely circumvent the Budget Control Act.

And at the height of the 2012 election, the White House was on the defensive after Republicans seized on Woodward’s book, The Price of Politics, as evidence President Obama was in over his head on the economy.

--This report was updated at 10:23 p.m.