From today’s Washington Post:
“We tend to learn our lessons,” said one senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so he could be more candid.
The White House has certainly learned their lesson: it’s easy to spin reporters by speaking to them on background.
According to the Washington Post, this isn’t supposed to happen. From the Post’s policy on anonymous sources:
Sources often insist that we agree not to name them in the newspaper before they agree to talk with us. We must be reluctant to grant their wish. When we use an unnamed source, we are asking our readers to take an extra step to trust the credibility of the information we are providing. We must be certain in our own minds that the benefit to readers is worth the cost in credibility.
UPDATE: More valuable insight from the senior official in today’s Post:
“It was clear if the president was going to go for someone with judicial experience that Alito was his pick,” the senior official said.
“There was a lot of momentum behind Judge Alito,” the official said. “I don’t think there was a lot of gnashing of teeth.”