Following the release of Economic Council director Gene Sperling's full e-mail to Bob Woodward, the journalist backtracked and seemed to suggest the controversy was overblown by Politico, correctly noting that he never used the word "threat." In a statement later on Thursday, Woodward was even more explicit. “I never characterized it as a ‘threat,’” Woodward told the Washington Post. “I think that was Politico’s word. I said I think [Sperling’s] language is unfortunate, and I don’t think it’s the way to operate. ... [Sperling’s] language speaks for itself.” However, on Thursday night, Woodward appeared on Hannity to elaborate a bit more on the meaning of Sperling's e-mail.
Woodward reiterated that he never said he felt threatened, and resisted Sean Hannity's efforts to get him to say that the White House is lying, or accusing him of being a liar. "I'm not going to use words like that," said Woodward.
Yet, he went on to explain that he still thinks there was something sinister about Sperling's apologetic note. "The problem I have with the Gene Sperling e-mail — and this comes after a shouting match, lots of people shout at me — he's says I'm going to 'regret.' That goes into the coded, 'you better watch out,'" Woodward said. But to be clear, he still hasn't uttered the word "threat."