(CNN) - The White House has stepped up its criticism of NBC News for its handling of an interview with President Bush, releasing a letter Monday claiming the network had used "deceitful editing to further a media-manufactured story line is utterly misleading and irresponsible."
In his speech before the Knesset earlier this week, Bush had mentioned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad, telling Israeli lawmakers that "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along."
Obama and many other Democrats have interpreted that statement as a swipe at the Democratic frontrunner. The White House has publicly denied that charge.
During an NBC interview this week, correspondent Richard Engel asked Bush if he had been directing an attack at the Illinois senator.
Bush's response as aired on NBC was: "You know, my policies haven't changed, but evidently the political calendar has. . . . And when, you know, a leader of Iran says that they want to destroy Israel, you've got to take those words seriously."
The network did not include the following comment, which fell between the two statements: "People need to read the speech. You didn't get it exactly right, either. What I said was that we need to take the words of people seriously."
During Monday’s broadcast of NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams reported that the White House had raised objections to the interview as aired.
NBC has said that the broadcast fairly reflected Bush’s comments, and noted that the unedited interview is available in full on the network’s Web site. But in his Monday letter, White House Counsel Ed Gillespie said it was "simply absurd” that the only way to get “accurate information from NBC News” was to check the Internet for a video stream.