Phantom V-Day in Chicago

News aide takes all the blame


President Obama and First Lady Michelle did not spend Valentine’s Day in Chicago this year, but that didn’t stop the Washington Post from reporting otherwise.

As the Sun-Times Lynn Sweet details in her blog today, Washington Post news aide Tim Smith did a Google search looking for the Obama’s Valentine's Day plans.

One of the first hits happened to be an item Sweet wrote in 2009 titled: "Obama's Valentine's Day dinner at Table Fifty-Two restaurant in Chicago."

Said aide apparently didn’t check the date and reran the item in the paper’s “Names and Faces” feature for the Monday style section titled “Obamas' Valentine's getaway", attributing the story to Sweet.

The Obamas actually spent the 2010 Hallmark holiday at Camp David in Maryland – an item that was available on

The Washington Post Ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, takes his own paper to task for the poor fact checking.

Smith took all the blame despite the fact that the item went through two rounds of editing.

“It’s embarrassing. It comes down to me not paying attention. It’s my fault and I don’t want to pass the buck,” Smith said.

Read the embarrasing rehash here

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