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Woodward strikes again

How does he do it? According to the Washington Post's Bob Woodward, Fox chairman Roger Ailes tried to get David Petraeus to run for president, via an intermediary. And somebody recorded it:

[I]n spring 2011, Ailes asked a Fox News analyst headed to Afghanistan to pass on his thoughts to Petraeus, who was then the commander of U.S. and coalition forces there. Petraeus, Ailes advised, should turn down an expected offer from President Obama to become CIA director and accept nothing less than the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top military post. If Obama did not offer the Joint Chiefs post, Petraeus should resign from the military and run for president, Ailes suggested.

The Fox News chairman’s message was delivered to Petraeus by Kathleen T. McFarland, a Fox News national security analyst and former national security and Pentagon aide in three Republican administrations. She did so at the end of a 90-minute, unfiltered conversation with Petraeus that touched on the general’s future, his relationship with the media and his political aspirations — or lack thereof. The Washington Post has obtained a digital recording from the meeting, which took place in Petraeus’s office in Kabul.

For some reason, this bombshell story ran in the Style section. Why? More importantly, who leaked this story to Woodward? McFarland, after telling Petraeus, "I’m only reporting this back to Roger. And that’s our deal"? Someone looking to discredit Ailes? Petraeus, trying to make clear once and for all that he had no political aspirations? Somebody else who was in the room? Or did Woodward get wind of the outlines of the encounter, present it to Petraeus, and then encourage the former CIA director to set the record straight? Whatever the case, one thing is clear: Woodward has done it again.

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