Posted Thursday, May 10, 2012, at 5:08 PM
All three outlets focus on the same two grafs -- one from the Horowitz scoop, one from an ABC News follow. Horowitz quotes "Stu White, a popular friend of Romney’s," and writes that he "has long been bothered by the Lauber incident." ABC News circles back to White, who cleans the schmutz off his shirt with a new quote.
White, in an interview with ABC News, said that he is “still debating” whether he will help the campaign, remarking, “It’s been a long time since we’ve been pals.” While the Post reports White as having “long been bothered” by the haircutting incident,” he told ABC News he was not present for the prank, in which Romney is said to have forcefully cut a student’s long hair and was not aware of it until this year when he was contacted by the Washington Post.
Problem: This doesn't disprove the Horowitz story about Romney, Lauber, and the scissors. White was not one of his four named sources. His sources were Matthew Friedemann, Phillip Maxwell, Thomas Buford, and David Seed. Other reporters, tasting Horowitz's dust all day, have been coming back to Romney peers and getting the same story. (The New York Times's Ashley Parker's been tweeting about that paper's up-coming follow.) All this proves is that a source from later in the story, who's closer to Romney, is now claiming ignorance.
In its strange way, this is good for Romney. When the the New York Times's ran its 2008 Vicki Iseman story, the backlash made Republicans hug John McCain tighter. (Some of them hadn't wanted to hug him at all.) One month ago, the base didn't care about defending Romney. Now he's the (likely*) Republican nominee. An assault on him is an assault on them.
But this isn't the Vicki Iseman story. Sources have names, facts have witnesses and dates.
*Disclaimer intended for Ron Paul voters.