Washington Post Mistakes Obamas' Valentine's Day Plans

By: Harry Jaffe

We can rely on the Washington Post to keep track of the President and First Lady, at least in matters of their dating and dining. Right?

Wrong.

The Post’s “Names and Faces” column in Monday’s Style section informed POTUS/FLOTUS watchers about the “Obama’s Valentine’s getaway,” in which the President took First Lady Michelle Obama out for a romantic dinner in Chicago. Writer Timothy R. Smith compiled the report, saying they dined at the exclusive Table Fifty-Two, that they ate grits and jambalaya and maple sugar short ribs.

The report confounded White House reporters, who had dutifully followed the President's return last night from a Valentine's Day trip to Camp David.

Smith duly attributed the report to the Chicago Sun-Times, which first described the Obama's getaway—last year.

Neither Smith nor any Style editors could not be reached for comment, but it’s clear that he mistook Valentine's Day 2009 for 2010.

White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton tweeted first thing this morning, "WP rpt that the Obamas went to Chicago for Valentine’s Day is true – but probably worth noting that that was last year."

Sources in the White House press operation said the Post was planning a correction. The Sun-Times piece is clearly labeled as coming from 2009, so how it ended up in Smith's round-up of weekend romance today is unclear.