Politico Is Sorry Readers Thought They Blamed Obama for His Hypothetical Assassination

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Photo: Jon Super/AP/Corbis

Before Secret Service director Julia Pierson resigned on Wednesday, Politico Magazine ran an article by former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal reporter Ronald Kessler that blamed the Secret Service’s ineptitude on President Obama’s lack of leadership. Kessler suggested Obama is literally too incompetent to save his own life (“Despite the obvious danger to himself and his own family, President Obama refuses to replace Pierson”), but people were most irked by the closing paragraph:

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Agents tell me it’s a miracle an assassination hasn’t already occurred. Sadly, given Obama’s colossal lack of management judgment, that calamity may be the only catalyst that will reform the Secret Service.

After many people objected to the implication that the Secret Service will only improve if the president is killed and that his death would be his own fault, the lines were changed to read:

Agents tell me it’s a miracle an assassination has not already occurred. In typical Washington fashion, nothing gets reformed until a disaster happens. If anything unites Republicans and Democrats, it is that nobody wants to see a tragedy: We all just want the Secret Service fixed.

They also tacked this note on the bottom:

Editor’s note: Some readers have misinterpreted the original last line of Kessler’s article as somehow suggesting that the president should be held responsible in the event of his own assassination. That couldn’t be further from the truth, and we’re sorry if anyone interpreted Kessler’s meaning in any other way.

Politico Denies Blaming Obama for Assassination