AP’s Bob Lewis fired over erroneous report on McAuliffe

newspaperAn erroneous Oct. 9 Associated Press report alleging that Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe had lied to federal investigators has cost veteran Virginia AP political reporter Bob Lewis his job.

Lewis and AP editor Dena Potter were both let go from their jobs in the wake of the fallout from the report, which was quickly retracted by the Associated Press.

The firings have been reported by the Huffington Post and Politico.

The story by Lewis was reporting on McAuliffe’s relationship to Joseph A. Caramadre, a Rhode Island real estate planner charged in a federal fraud case. Documents related to the case include references to a “T.M.” who apparently lied to investigators in the course of their review of the case. The Lewis story alleged that it was McAuliffe who had lied to investigators, but it turned out that the T.M. in question was another person with the same initials.

Lewis immediately took responsibility for the error. “The error was mine and I take responsibility for it,” he tweeted.

The news of his firing was met with surprise from both sides of the political aisle in Virginia. Democratic U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both former Virginia governors who were covered by Lewis in his long tenure in Richmond, tweeted messages of support for Lewis. Tucker Martin, communications director for Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, wrote in a tweet that the move by AP is “AP’s loss.”

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