An April 6 Washington Post profile of Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) asserted that Putnam "won't apologize for trying to make headlines," and that, as chairman of the House Republican Conference Committee, his "new job is to jump on anything that makes Democrats look bad and exploit it for maximum effect." However, the article made no mention of the fact that Putnam has admitted that he baselessly accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of "an arrogance of extravagance that demands a jumbo jet that costs $22,000 an hour to operate to taxi her and her buddies back and forth to California." During an April 6 online discussion on washingtonpost.com, in response to a reader's question about why Putnam's baseless accusation was not included in the article, the article's author, Post congressional reporter Lyndsey Layton, stated that she had included "[t]he Pelosi plane" in the article's lead paragraph, but "it was sliced from the final version because the editor felt the reference was dated."
As Media Matters for America noted, The Tampa Tribune reported on February 20 that Putnam, after weeks of attacking Pelosi's purported request for a "jumbo jet that costs $22,000 an hour to operate," "acknowledge[d] he had no personal knowledge" of any such request being made. There is, in fact, no evidence that Pelosi ever made such a request, and the House Sergeant-at-Arms revealed that he was the one who requested a military aircraft for Pelosi.
From the Post's profile of Putnam:
Rep. Adam Putnam won't apologize for trying to make headlines.
The Florida Republican's new job is to jump on anything that makes Democrats look bad and exploit it for maximum effect. As chairman of the Republican Conference Committee, Putnam is the face and voice of House Republicans. His agenda: to aggressively display the flaws of the new majority, to convey the ideas of the Republicans, and to work his hardest to help his party win back the House in 2008.
"Because we're in the minority, we have to work that much harder to get our message out," said Putnam, who edged out Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) for the job of conference chairman by a vote of 100 to 91.
At 32, Putnam is the second-youngest member of Congress and the youngest to hold the job of GOP conference chair.
His smooth face, punctuated by a dimpled smile, and tousled red hair make him look more legislative aide than congressman. He has endured nicknames including "Opie" and "Howdy Doody." Two years ago, Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark.) was speaking on the House floor when he looked at Putnam and wondered aloud what Putnam was going to be when he grew up.
From Layton's online discussion:
Dunn Loring, Va.: Lyndsey: In your glowing profile of Adam Putnam today (gift citrus basket on the way!) why didn't you mention his gaff [sic] last month of accusing Pelosi of requesting a jumbo jet to travel back and forth to her district when no such request was made, where he later admitted he got the information from an article in another D.C. daily? Not to mention that he accepted a $1,000 donation from Mark Foley last year after Foley's troubles were known? Please tell me an editor deleted this from your story.
washingtonpost.com: Rep. Putnam Stays on Message (Post, April 6)
Lyndsey Layton: Dunn Loring, how did you know? The Pelosi plane was the original lede on that story and it was sliced from the final version because the editor felt the reference was dated.