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White House, reporter Woodward make peace over perceived slights

Bob Woodward (L), a former Washington Post reporter takes a tour of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library with director Timothy Naftali bef
Bob Woodward (L), a former Washington Post reporter takes a tour of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library with director Timothy Naftali bef

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Famed Watergate reporter Bob Woodward's well-publicized blow-up with White House economic adviser Gene Sperling had its dividends: A lunch to make peace and a promise that his access to high-level administration figures will not be taken away.

White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer revealed on Wednesday that he, Sperling and Jay Carney, President Barack Obama's spokesman, took the veteran Washington Post reporter to lunch in the White House mess to clear the air.

"We had a good laugh about this," Pfeiffer said at a Politico Playbook Breakfast event.

Last month Woodward, who with Post colleague Carl Bernstein helped uncover the 1970s Watergate scandal that forced President Richard Nixon to resign, complained that Sperling had warned that Woodward would regret some of his reporting about an Obama budget deal with congressional Republicans.

Woodward is the author of a number of books that depend on insider access to Washington's key players. The Sperling flap led to speculation that Woodward's ability to reach these figures in the Obama administration might run dry.

Pfeiffer said that at the lunch, the White House officials shared some of their lingering disagreements with Woodward's reporting. But, he said, "We made it very clear that Gene was not intending to threaten him."

"We certainly aren't cutting Bob Woodward's access off," he said, adding that it would not be possible to do that anyway.

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Philip Barbara)

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