When White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer put up a “fact check” on the official White House blog last week he was pulling no punches. He pushed back on the “patently false” claim that “President Obama removed the bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office and sent it back to the British Embassy.” Pfeiffer singled out Charles Krauthammer for repeating this “rumor” in his weekly column.
Only one big problem with Pfeiffer’s fact check. It was false. As noted here, there were photos of the Churchill bust in the British embassy after its return from the Oval Office in 2009. At some point Friday, Pfeiffer caught wind of the error and published an update to his original fact check. The update explained, in language that even the NY Times found confusing, that there were actually two busts of Churchill. One had indeed been returned to the British embassy, the other was on display in the White House residence.
One thing Pfeiffer’s Friday afternoon update did not do was apologize to Charles Krauthammer for attacking him by name without having the facts. On Sunday, Krauthammer demanded a correction from the White House in a column published by the Washington Post. Krauthammer also asked for an apology but expressed skepticism that one would be forthcoming saying the Nationals would win the World Series first.