I am the last guy to defend Person but I did hear him on a radio show today talking about the same thing. His verbal account was not at all scathing towards Newton but rather sounded like an overall comment on the state of the team in general (IMO). Mentioned that Gettleman paused to gather thoughts. That said, I dont think that was accurately articulated in print.
I think this has to do with Person and the Observer being able to write and edit a story quickly.
God forbid he is not able to communicate properly in print..ya know..his job.