From the Politico:
Instead of a fish tied to a cinderblock this weekend, it looked like we might have one tied to a balloon. The New York Times reported on the front of its Saturday edition that the administration was considering a 50 percent reduction in combat troops by next spring in order to take the focus away from a phased timeline for withdrawal.
The idea was sourced to “senior administration officials in the midst of the internal debate” and could have been either a classic trial balloon or the work of people in the debate hoping early press coverage would help kill it or push it forward. …
But it turns out that fish wasn’t in a barrel. “This was something I’d been reporting for a long time and we just put it in the Saturday paper. You don’t get a story like that in a document dump, trust me,” said David E. Sanger, the lead reporter on the Times’ story.
“If I look at my e-mail, the blogosphere thinks the White House reaches out and says ‘By the way, we’ve got a concept of how we’d get out [of Iraq] even though the president has been saying that that’s not what we’re looking at.’ Life doesnâ€™t work that way. Whenever you write something like this you always get that number of e-mails from people who think you’re sitting there taking dictation or something,” Sanger told Fishy Friday.
“Let’s say that the White House was not thrilled to see that story in the newspaper.”