The White House press secretary, Tony Snow, apologized yesterday to an NBC News correspondent whom he faulted last week for posing "partisan" questions at a briefing for journalists.
"I've thought a lot about that, and I was wrong," Mr. Snow told the NBC reporter, David Gregory, before answering one of the journalist's questions at yesterday's White House briefing.
"I want people in this room and also people who watch these to understand that the relations in this room are professional and collegial. And if I expect you to do right by us, you have every right to expect that I'll do right by you. So, in any event, I just want to say I'm sorry for that," Mr. Snow said.
The clash last week came after Mr. Gregory suggested the report of the Iraq Study Group amounted to a vote of no confidence in President Bush's Iraq policy. "Can this report be seen as anything other than a rejection of this President's handling of the war?" the reporter asked.
Messrs. Gregory and Snow sparred verbally, with the press secretary eventually saying, "You need to understand that trying to frame it in a partisan way is actually at odds with what the group, itself, says it wanted to do."
"I'm asking you a straight question, which you're not answering straight," Mr. Gregory said, also accusing the spokesman of "nitpicking" the question.
Mr. Gregory, who began covering the White House in 2001, has been criticized by conservative groups and commentators for being biased and overly confrontational when questioning Mr. Bush and his spokesmen.
"Mr. Gregory is a partisan," Bill O'Reilly of Fox News said last week. "Using loaded questions to bolster his point of view is not what straight news reporting is about."
Mr. Gregory, who has denied any partisan motivation, thanked Mr. Snow for his apology. In February, the reporter apologized for being argumentative with Mr. Snow's predecessor, Scott McClellan, in questioning the delay in disclosing an incident in which Vice President Cheney shot a hunting companion on a Texas ranch.