Why does President Obama have such a hard time selling his economic plans to the voting public? House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told NewsBeast's Howard Kurtz, "I think you need to talk about how poorly they do on message ... They can't see around corners; they anticipate nothing." Except she didn't. Three hours after Kurtz tweeted the quote with a link to his story, he took it back: "That Nancy Pelosi comment in Newsweek criticizing the White House on messaging was erroneously attributed to her. We regret the error." The quotes have been removed from the article, on Obama's new populism, and this correction was added at the bottom: "Editor's Note: An earlier version of the story included a comment erroneously attributed to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, criticizing the White House’s efforts at political messaging. Newsweek and The Daily Beast regret the error."
What happened? Politico's Ben Smith speculates: "Typically, confusing retractions of quotes are because they were off-record. There's no good way to fix that." But Pelosi's staff insisted to Business Insider's Zeke Miller that she said no such thing: "Leader Pelosi nor anyone on her staff said the words attributed to Leader Pelosi either on background or off-the-record. Our understanding is that this was an internal Newsweek miscommunication." But if Pelosi and her staff didn't say it --
and it's possible the denial isn't true* -- who did? Earlier this year, Kurtz incorrectly attributed quotes from Rep. Darrell Issa's spokesman to Issa himself, writing that Issa had a habit of referring to himself in the third person.
Pelosi's office emails that Pelosi "spoke with Newsweek twice and in both conversations she spoke positively of the White House's messaging efforts." The Daily Caller reports that a reporter's notes were mixed up with the Pelosi transcript.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.