As we are debating whether or not there are, in the president’s words, “tapes” of his dinner with FBI Director James Comey, there’s another question we should be asking: Did President Obama tape all of his meeting in the Oval Office?
Money quote where former White House staffer Ben Rhodes told author Mark Bowden — whose tape recorder died during his interview of Obama — “Ah don’t worry about it. We record everything in here. We’ll get you a trasncript before you leave.”
In 2012, journalist Mark Bowden gave a talk at the Pritzker Military Museum in Chicago about his new book, “The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden.” As part of the research for that book, Bowden spent 90 minutes interviewing President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. The interview went well — until it didn’t.
“As I stood up to say goodbye to the president, I looked down and my tape recorder had died. … That thing had always worked like a charm but there it was, just as dead as a nut on the table. So I said my goodbyes and as I was walking out of the Oval Office with Ben Rhodes, I said, ‘Ben, you’re not going to believe this, but my recorder died in the middle of that somewhere.’”
“‘Ah don’t worry about it,’ he says, ‘we record everything in here. We’ll get you a transcript before you leave.’ And he did.”
That anecdote speaks volumes about the subject at hand: A recorded, transcribed conversation that was conducted without the subject knowing.