The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!


Return to Transcripts main page


Interview with Bob Woodward

Aired October 20, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Bob Woodward, the reporter with unequaled access to the president. His take on the race for the White House, the latest on Iraq and more.
Bob Woodward, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, best selling author for the hour with your phone calls next on LARRY KING LIVE.

He's one of our favorite people. He's a regular participant here on LARRY KING LIVE, reporter and editor of the "Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, "New York Times best selling author. And his newest book, "Plan of Attack," which was unveiled early on this show, a major best seller in hardcover, is now out in paperback now. Good timing.

Less than two weeks until election day. Everyone is saying close. I just did a poll here of a people calling in, thinking 49 percent of the callers, Bob, thinks we won't know the winner election night.

What do you think?

BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "PLAN OF ATTACK," "BUSH AT WAR": I think that's possible. Everyone's spring loaded if they see something they don't like, to object. It's likely you'll get all kinds of lawsuits in not just Florida but many states. And who knows exactly what's going to happen. You talk to lots of people about the polls. I think the pollsters themselves are very uneasy about what their numbers are showing. They'll come up with different conclusions over the period of a number of days, when nothing really has happened. So, what are you measuring? You're measuring the different samples. So, I tend to set the polls aside and just ask the question, even in the last two weeks, what can we learn about these two major candidates that will help people make sense out of their own vote.

KING: Your paper always has, as part of a major polling system. Do you question your own paper's system of polling?

WOODWARD: No. I question the emphasis on it. I think, if everyone polls. If you get the people in the news organizations, including mine and including yours, in a corner, where they can talk directly and not for retribution, they will all acknowledge, the marketing devices for CNN, "Washington Post", "The New York Times," ABC, that's the way the news organizations get their name out there. It's taken on a momentum. And, you know,I think it's been given too much attention!

Ralph Nader was just here and I was chatting with him, the third party candidate, and he kept saying it's all about tactics and polls and the horse race and tactics and polls and the horse race. And I think people really want to find out more about the candidates because there's much to be learned, still.

KING: You're saying that we don't know enough about these two people already?

WOODWARD: Yes. Exactly.

KING: What do you base that on?

WOODWARD: I base it on reporting. If I can just take something that I think is very significant in the campaign that really has not been laid out in the open. When I interviewed President Bush for "Plan of Attack," about the decision to go to war into Iraq, I was pushing into that question, well why Iraq?

Why are you doing this?

And there are the standard reasons. At one point, he said, very explicitly we have a duty in the United States to free people, to liberate people. Now, duty is a giant word, a very big word, saying we have an obligation to do this. The president has talked about this. When I pressed him on it, and even said it might sound dangerously paternalistic to suggest that we have this duty to go around liberating people. He said, well elites might think that. And then said, he and Tony Blair and some of their others in the Iraq coalition had a zeal, now that's his word. A zeal to free people.

Now, what does Senator Kerry think about that?

Where does President Bush draw the line?

How far does this duty go.

KING: And you think that has not been asked in any of the three debates?

WOODWARD: I think not pointedly enough. Now, the president said, when he talked about this duty to free people, he said he hoped he didn't have to do it militarily, but clearly, he's willing to do it. And duty and zeal are words, where he is declaring that he feels we have an obligation and he believes it very strongly. Now, he has publicly said that the natural -- more-or-less, the natural state of man and woman is free and so forth. But he hasn't talked about this enough. And I'd be interested if Senator Kerry feels we have this duty or is it just something that if we happen to get in a war with somebody and we can free people, then that will be a nice secondary consequence. Any ways, you can think of a million questions.

KING: Tip O'Neill, once said famously, all politics is local. In this campaign, is Iraq the central issue?

WOODWARD: We have talked about this for months. I think it is, because the decision to go to war, going to war, it defines who we are to the world, it defines who we are to ourselves. The question of war, that we are making a commitment, a national commitment like none other. And you know, it is a giant deal. And I think I would go so far as to say it's a moral question, a moral issue, when and how you go to war. So, quite rightly, it's the issue to discuss and debate.

KING: Does it surprise you that we are so divided.

WOODWARD: No, it doesn't, because it's Iraq. And the other issues are very important. And the candidates have strong different views. Now, I think, when one of them is president next year, they're going to live in a world where they're going to have to come up with pragmatic solutions. I think pragmatics are going to dominate the next couple of years in this country because Iraq is so difficult because the economy is wherever it is, it's uncertain. The deficits are giant and people who know a lot about economics and investing and money are deeply worried about those deficits.

So, whether it's Bush or Kerry, they're going to have to come in and say, how do I deal with these things in a practical and probably less ideological way?

KING: We're going to your callers at the bottom of the hour. We'll be back with more on Bob Woodward and more on this campaign. We'll ask about his thoughts about the debate. Bob Woodward, the latest book, "Plan of Attack," a major best-seller in hardcover, is now out in paperback.

We'll be right back don't go away.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Senator Kerry decide supporting the troops, even while in harm's way was not as important as shoring up his own political position. At a time -- at a time of great threat to our country. At a time of great challenge in the world the commander in chief must stand on principle, not on the shifting sands of political convenience.




SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mr. President, it is time for leadership. It's time to implement the real 9/11 intelligence commission that were passed by the Senate. And, Mr. President, if you don't do it now, I'll do it in January.


KING: We're back with Bob Woodward. What was your assessment of the debates, Bob?

WOODWARD: I thought we learned a great deal about both of the candidates. The president's scowling and so forth in the first debate is a memory with lots of people. And the general judgment is that Kerry did better. I don't know whether it was enough -- there's some indication to change lots of people's minds but I thought they were wonderful. I think they should have one each week. And people who are experts in health care, should do a whole hour, a whole 90 minutes on health care, on foreign policy, on the economy, on Social Security.

KING: What are they afraid of? Why don't we have 12 debates?

WOODWARD: I don't know. I'm not sure they're necessarily afraid. I think what happens, particularly in the closing days of a campaign, everyone becomes risk adverse. Well, what's the gain from doing that versus the risk of misspeaking or actually making a serious error, or not looking engaged, or scowling or something like that, that can leave an indelible impression. And the closer to the voting day that is, the longer that negative impression can last, so people are naturally thus.

But I think there should be more debates. I think there should be so many debates, people are screaming and not watching them because there are lots of things out there that have not been discussed. There are lots of things you can't know about. Take Senator Kerry, who has not been president, who has not really had an executive position, were he to become president he is going to be commander-in- chief. How would he function as commander-in-chief? I can think of, I hate to tell you, 100 questions to ask about that, that might illuminate who he is and give people a better guide to what we would get.

KING: Barry Goldwater told me once and Robert Kennedy confirmed it, that he and president Kennedy in 1963, before the tragic death of the president had arranged to have many debates, saved money, travel around debating each other in many spots like Lincoln/Douglas if Kennedy had run against Goldwater in '64. It might have worked.

WOODWARD: That would have been very useful. At the same time, those were very good debates and much was said and much was learned. You know, I imagine having, you know, to go do that, when you know in 90 minutes, so much is at stake. It also is, I'm sure, nerve-wracking for both very experienced candidates.

KING: In the third debate, Bob Schieffer paraphrased a Bush quote from "Plan of Attack" in setting up a question about the role of faith in the president's life. Watch.


BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS NEWS: You were asked before the invasion or after the invasion of Iraq, if you had checked with your dad. I believe, I don't remember the quote exactly, but I believe you said you had checked with a higher authority. I would like to ask you, what part does your faith play on your policy decisions?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First, my faith plays a lot -- a big part of my life. When I was answering that question, what I was really saying to the person was that I pray a lot. And I do.


KING: Were you offended that he didn't name you? You were the person.

WOODRUFF: No. Obviously, the quote specifically was, and I asked the president very directly, look, your father is the only person who sat in this office who went to war with Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War. It wouldn't be credible if you did not ask him, and the president's first response was, well, if it wouldn't be credible maybe I better make up something. And then I said, no, I'm being kind of hard and direct. He said, no, you should be. If you look through the transcript, we went round and round about this. He said, his dad, to his recollection, never said do it or don't do it. Then the president said, in terms of strength, I appeal to a higher father. Bob Schieffer said higher authority. It was higher father. Of course, I never got the answer to what the lower father, the earthly father recommended.

KING: What's your thought on Bill Clinton's return? He will campaign with Kerry in Philadelphia in a key state, Pennsylvania, on Monday. What will his impact be?

WOODWARD: It will be big news. As we know, he's a great communicator. Certainly, his speech, during the Democratic convention, in favor of Kerry, was one of the best political speeches I've ever heard. This idea that Clinton put forth with the exact quote that, you know, Kerry is somebody, when they called him to serve, they said send me, send me, and he said, Kerry was a guy who was always saying, send me. I thought it was very powerful. Clinton will be powerful on the campaign trail. He is a magnet for lots of things. TV coverage will be one. If he with the same enthusiasm is out there campaigning for Kerry, it may have an impact.

KING: Do you expect a big turnout? What's your gut feeling?

WOODWARD: We should all be so humble about this. There's a lot of evidence, there's much interest that both parties are trying to get their people out. It might rain or there might be something that happens that day, or that week that could lessen the turnout. Who knows? There's a lot of interest. There's a lot at stake. As you know, one of Kerry's sound bites is this is the most important elections of his lifetime. Whether most people feel that or not, I don't know. I think a lot of people do and I think much is at stake.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with more of Bob Woodward at bottom of the hour, you calls. "Plan of Attack" is now out in paperback. A terrific read. We'll ask about that because there's another book out. I'll ask about that and other things and then your calls right after this.


KERRY: I cannot tell you how many workers I'd met like that, who are left out there on their own, dangling. The lives of our fellow citizens hanging, while a president and his friends keep feeding the people at the top, keep walking on by and crossing over to the other side of the street and ignoring those who need the help in America. I'm going to be a champion for the middle class, for the working folks, for the people who deserve their chance.




BUSH: You cannot win a war when you don't believe we're fighting one. That's my opponent. The most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. If we show uncertainty or weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. It's not going to happen on my watch.


KING: We're less than two weeks away. Bob Woodward, in a review this past Sunday of Seymour Hersh's book, "Chain of Command" in the "New York Times," they refer to your book. And it says, "we now have two major accounts of the war in Iraq, Hersh's "Chain of Command" and Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack." Hersh is the anti-Woodward. Woodward is the official scribe of the inner sanctum. His excess to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Powell gives his account real authority but at a price. In Woodward's world, everything is what the principals say it is. In Hersh's world by contrast nothing the policy elites say is true actually is. So Hersh would be persona non grata to the inner sanctum because unlike Woodward, he's not inclined to take dictation from the president."

How would you respond to that?

WOODWARD: I read that. I think the reviewer doesn't understand the reporting process. And I think I do. And Seymour Hersh does. In fact, Sy Hersh and I have talked about this. That you get information with information. And I have talked to these people and they responded, like the president, in depth, to what information I had.

As I write in the book. I think I said to you, Larry, that I sent President Bush a 21-page memo, outlining what I'd learned from low-level, mid-level people working a year on this, constructing kind of the secret history. And the White House saw this and they realized I was going to do the book anyway. So they agreed to have the president -- the president agreed to be interviewed for 3 1/2 hours, which as best I can tell, is the longest interview a sitting president has ever given on one subject, going back to George Washington.

So I'm not taking dictation. I know what happened at those meetings, what's in those top secret documents and I am asking the president for his response and recollection about the why seeing he's the decision-maker, you want -- if you can obtain his reaction. It's there on the record. On the record. You can like it or not like it.

KING: And I know Sy Hersh has great respect for you. And the books are kind of companion pieces. You're telling me what they're saying, he's getting sources that are looking at what happened, the weapons of mass destruction. Wouldn't you say that that "Plan of Attack" in a sense is a companion piece to follow up to the book, one view to another?

WOODWARD: You could read it many ways. I think I have lots of information. As we know, and as we've talked about over the months, people read it very differently. People who like the war and like Bush read it and say it shows he's strong and determined. People who don't like the war or don't like Bush say it shows almost a dysfunctional process. You know, these dueling recommendations are interesting. My wife, who's my reality therapist suggested that really shows that no one read the book, that's why they're recommending it from both sides. That might also be the case.

KING: I did read the book and I will say it's an example of great reporting because you can come to different conclusions. That's the way you write, right? In other words you lay it out. You're not saying here's what I think, you're saying here's the way it played. You provide your own view.

WOODWARD: And this is the road, particularly in the case of the president, the way we've set up the system in this country, the president decides whether we go to war or not, particularly after Congress supported or granted him, in a resolution, it wasn't a law, and said he could use the military in Iraq, as he deemed necessary and appropriate.

So you want to get close to the decision-maker here. The burden or whatever it is, is on his shoulders. What fascinated me is he didn't deny anything in those interviews. He answered all of the questions. There's kind of a fierce engagement with Bush. You know, you've interviewed him a lot. He does not -- not once did he say, oh, no, that didn't happen. And there are lots of things in that book that -- and lots of things I asked him about that he didn't like, including why we haven't found weapons of mass destruction.

KING: What's your comment? An interview yesterday on CNN, Pat Robertson, an avid Bush supporter by the way, says he urged the president to prepare the United States people for casualties before launching the war and he said Bush told him, they're not going to have any casualties. What do you make of that? The White House denied that today.

WOODWARD: Yes, I don't think the president would say that. Certainly didn't believe that. When I talked to him about it, in fact, he said, in making the decision to go to war in Iraq, or the war in Afghanistan, he knew there were going to be casualties and he knew he was going to have to comfort the loved ones afterwards, so that there was kind of a deep awareness of that. I don't think that makes sense.

KING: We'll take a break and come back and go to your calls for Bob Woodward. "Plan of Attack," a great read is now available in paperback. He's the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and editor of the "Washington Post." The book "Plan of Attack" was a major bestseller in hard cover. Promises the same in paperback. The election less than two weeks away, and your questions next. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Bob Woodward. By the way, we're going to have some kind of election night on CNN. You're going to be hearing a lot about it next week. We're going to be broadcasting from Nasdaq headquarters in Time Square. And it's going to be something else, major coverage of election night all the way through. We may be there for days.

Lets go to calls for Bob...

WOODWARD: or weeks.

KING: Weeks. Bob Woodward, Amsterdam, Ohio, hello.

CALLER: Hello. I like your program.

KING: Thank you. what's the question?

CALLER: Mr. Woodward, President Bush has said he is opposed to abortion, but I've never heard him elaborate. Does that include the pill, the morning after pill or and the patch which are also forms of abortion. And I've never heard him say what he intends to do to stop abortion?

KING: Would he opposed. Would he want Roe vs. Wade overturned?

He's never said that, has he, Bob?

WOODWARD: In the debates they tried to get him to answer that. He said he would not have a litmus test for judges. The caller asks an interesting question. I have no idea what the answer on that is. I noticed the candidates did not want to linger over the question of abortion, it's a polarizing one. People feel very strongly about it. And I think the candidates look -- when the topic comes up, kind of move in the chair and -- on their feet, as they're standing there in the debate and are not urging people to ask follow-up detailed questions.

KING: I would guess he wouldn't be opposed to the patch. I don't think he would -- that's kind of a stretch, but I don't know.

Des Moines, Iowa, for Bob Woodward. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Mr. Woodward, I want to ask you about the elephant in the living room. Bush said it in the speech today, we've taken the fight to the terrorists so we don't have to fight them on our streets. Well, we know now we went into a country that didn't have terrorists, and thousands of Iraqis are dying. How is that OK, with them, with the world and with the people of the United States?

WOODWARD: OK, we went in to Iraq and we thought, in fact, everyone seemed to be sure there were weapons of mass destruction. And it turns out there are none. There are terrorists in Iraq, most certainly, but what the intelligence shows and the 9/11 Commission shows, and I've reported in my book, there was no connection or at least, where there was authority and direction and control from Saddam Hussein or his people to al Qaeda. And that would be the significant link. But there are indeed terrorists in Iraq.

You know, one of the fascinating questions in all of this is, how -- how evil was Saddam? I was thinking about this and talking to some people the other day. The evil, if you'll bear with me on this, one of the big evils of the 19th century was slavery. We fought a Civil War in this country in part, over that issue. In the 20th century, the evil was Hitler and Nazism. The question in this century, the jihadists, extreme fundamentalists, the new evil.

There is some evidence of that. And they have clearly done things like attacking this country on 9/11, that are the purest form of terrorism and hateful acts and evil acts, I think by any measure. And the question is -- and this, I think drives Bush. I think he feels, that, I'm on to -- we are facing this evil, and we have to strike. We have to be, as he repeatedly says, very aggressive now. Many think too aggressive, but that's his argument. And that's -- I think that propels him, that there's something out there that really is -- as he repeatedly says, they hate us and they want to destroy us.

KING: Los Angeles for Bob Woodward. Hello.

CALLER: My question is for Bob as a Muslim America.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: My question is to Bob, listen, why President Bush never call all the Muslim head of state at the White House after the 9/11 all together?

WOODWARD: I don't -- I think, you know, he certainly went to a mosque after 9/11 and there have -- I'm pretty sure the ambassadors have been called together. I don't know how he would get all the heads of states from Muslim countries together at one time in the White House. But he has very, very specifically reached out and made the point that this -- his war is not against Muslims, but his war is against terrorists.

KING: Denver, Colorado, for Bob Woodward. Hello.

CALLER: I'm interested in what Bob has to say. Yes, I'm interested in..

KING: I know. What the question?

CALLER: The question is you read in the newspapers and other news sources that they're going to have a problem with the recount of votes down in Florida. And my question is, why, in four years, haven't they made any effort or at least it doesn't look like they've made any effort to get good voting machines down to the state of Florida? KING: I understand they're different in every county.

WOODWARD: It is a massive undertaking. You're talking about developing a system that will count tens of millions or 100 million votes, throughout the country. And it's very expensive. And you get all the lawyers involved, you know, as soon as you get lawyers involved on one side or the other, there is a dispute. It's fair question, but I think...

KING: Why don't they have a uniformed -- why can't we -- Jimmy Carter said the other night on this show we have accused other countries of things that happen here.

WOODWARD: Yes. That's exactly right. But voting, as we know, is a local issue, and there is not -- it has not been federalized. Now maybe if there is another mess and people will look at it and say, we need some uniform system. And, you know, but no one has fixed it. I've heard stories, not just from Florida but lots of states. So God knows what we might be running into election night, particularly if it's close.

KING: Kansas City, Kansas. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I like -- I'm a hard line Christian. I don't think our country would want to be taken over and divided any more than any other country, let alone losing our other constitutional rights. So doesn't George Bush know or recognize there is a separation of church and state?

WOODWARD: I'm not sure.

KING: What does the first part of you question mean by taken over?

WOODWARD: What do you mean?

CALLER: It's like when we went to war with Iraq.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: We went in and they're pretty much separated now.

KING: I see.

CALLER: And so that's what I mean. If they went into our country.

KING: We went into Iraq not as different factions and now there's fighting. And her question is how would we feel if people came into our country and divided?

WOODWARD: If that's the question, we would hate it. And that's of course, one of the problems. Maybe, if you want to look at an optimistic sign in all of this, the sooner we get out of Iraq and extract our troops, that might be the cause of lots of the insurgency and violence. And leaving just might cause things to be better. You know, there's an argument on the other side, but when you look back in this story in the weeks and in the first weeks and months there was not this level of violence. And if you go back and look at the clips, when the statute of Saddam was pulled down in April there was cheering in the streets. There was cheering in lots of places in Iraq, so obviously something happened and the occupation is what happened and people there don't like it.

KING: Nanaimo, British Columbia.

CALLER: Hello. A question for Mr. Woodward.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: Does he, or anyone, have information on recruitment trends into the United States armed forces, particularly the Army, say, from before Iraq and to the present time, because there have been some defections into Canada from United States forces.

KING: You're saying some United States forces have defected to Canada to avoid going to Iraq?

CALLER: Yes. I believe that's to be true.

KING: Bob?

WOODWARD: I do not know that. You get contradictory stories from the military. I think there was a story today that enlistment in the army is down. I've talked to some generals, admirals who say their enlistment rates are high and they are able to meet their quotas. So, I'm sorry, I just don't have a good answer on that.

KING: We'll take a break and ask more questions for Bob Woodward. Don't go away.


BUSH: Senator Kerry was recently asked, how September the 11th had changed him. He replied, it didn't change me much at all. And this unchanged world view becomes obvious when he calls the war against terror primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation, rather than what I believe, a war which requires the full use of American power to keep us secure.




KERRY: In Iraq, every week brings fresh evidence that President Bush just doesn't see what's happening. And he isn't leveling with the American people about why we went to war, how the war is going, and he has no idea how to put our policy back on track.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: We're with Bob Woodward. "Plan of Attack" is now in paperback. Bob, the interesting point, more than 1,100 Americans killed. We've seen very few coffins, almost no funerals. More than 8,000 have been wounded. Haven't seen many wounded of them being interviewed on television. What do you make of this.

WOODWARD: Obviously, it's a policy decision to keep it under wraps. You know, my view is that it should be a decision that's made by family members of somebody who has been lost.

But that's part of -- you just played the clip of Senator Kerry saying we're not getting a lot of the information, or there is a reality disconnect in terms of what's going on on the ground. And I think that's fair comment.

You look at what the reporters see, and what the reporters say, I mean, it is a violent, violent place. Reporters for CNN, for the "Washington Post" are having much difficult doing their job, trying to get around. And any time they get around, they're risking their lives.

KING: Arlington, Virginia for Bob Woodward.

CALLER: Larry, for Mr. Woodward and for you, too, if you care to comment. Assuming there's a Kerry administration and you've got a Republican controlled, House and Senate, wouldn't Kerry serve more like head of state rather than a head of government. For example, he talks about rolling Bush's tax cuts backs, but would the Congress ever send that to him.

WOODWARD: I think that's a good question.

KING: It's always a question in any divided House and Senate and president.

WOODWARD: Yes. But it may be exactly what voters want, that somehow they want divided government, because less will happen. And I think under those circumstances, a lot less would happen. And I agree with the caller, if you have a Republican Senate and House and Kerry is elected president, his promise, pledge that he's going to raise taxes on people who make more than $200,000 a year, that's going to be a hard sell to the Congress. But, so, you may have a deadlock on lots of these issues.

KING: Bovey, Minnesota. Hello.

CALLER: My question is, and I consider myself an intelligent voter, I'm an independent, but my question is why do we still have in this day and age the electoral college vote, when it showed in the last election it just doesn't work. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans seem to address this issue. I'm confused. Why do we still have it in this day and age. Thank you.

KING: Simple question. Why doesn't the guy with the most votes win? WOODWARD: Well, because we have this system that goes way back. No one's going to step up and change it. I mean, look, Bush won, because of the electoral college in 2000. He lost the popular vote to Al Gore by half a million votes. So, he's not going to go on a crusade to change the electoral college.

And it's one of those things after the election -- I think after the election of 2000, people were so happy that it was settled, and that there was a decision made, and that Al Gore, and I think, in one of his finest moments, conceded, and didn't squawk about it at all, accepted the medicine administered by the Supreme court. And I think a lot of people worried, my god, we're going to be a Banana Republic, and we're not going to be able to figure out who really won. After that happened, everyone said, OK, onto the next piece of business.

KING: Hiddenite, North Carolina.

CALLER: Yes. Thank you, Mr. King, Mr. Woodward. I'd like your opinion on a Kerry administration with a secretary of state Bill or Hillary Clinton?

KING: Hillary won't leave the Senate. But in conjecture, who would be a logical secretary of state in a Kerry administration? Maybe Colin Powell.

WOODWARD: Well, some people think, or have thought for a long time that Colin Powell belongs in the Democratic Party. I don't think that would happen. There have been names floated around. I don't want to repeat any of them, because I don't have any inside information on that.

I understand Senator Kerry has got Jim Johnson, who helped him select his vice-presidential running mate, when they picked John Edwards, got Jim Johnson looking at how the government might be organized, what the transition might be and so forth .

Jim Johnson was somebody who was a top aide to Mondale and ran the Mondale campaign in 1984. But Jim Johnson is notorious for not letting it leak out, like it really didn't leak out who Kerry was going to pick as vice president. So, I don't think many authoritative leaks are going to come on that, in terms of names.

KING: Obviously, then, in his career, Bob Woodward has tried to get to Mr. Johnson through various sources many times. I know Jim Johnson. It ain't easy. It's hard to find out what he ordered for lunch. We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments with Bob Woodward. Now out in paperback "Plan of Attack. Don't go away.



DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW HOST: You folks worried about the flu vaccine shortage? Listen to this, because of the flu vaccine shortage, President Bush says that he will skip getting his flu vaccine this year and Kerry says that he'll just get an extra shot of Botox.

BUSH: We will not have an all volunteer army. And yet this week -- we will have an all volunteer army!

JON STEWART, DAILY SHOW: Well, there you go. Whoa! Good thing Frank from the local hardware store caught the mistake in time.


KING: What do you make, Bob, of the fodder this campaign has been for the night comics?

WOODWARD: It's great and it's funny. What is interesting is you played the clips of Senator Kerry and President Bush. They're really going after each other. The gloves are off. They are saying things about each other that are very harsh. It's not -- they are their own attack dogs.

KING: These are not my distinguished opponent.

WOODWARD: Exactly. You know, that's -- I don't know what that means. Maybe it's necessity, maybe it's the closeness of the race, maybe it's in the personality of the two men. But the critique, and sometimes, it really goes outside the boundaries, the newspapers and CNN have caught lots of these things and tried to correct the record, but both candidates are taking an extra squeeze on things and saying things that really are not supportable.

Once you -- you start doing that, you take one squeeze, then you take 2 and somebody might, in the course of the next two weeks say something, so outrageous and so over the top, that people are offended.

KING: It could change the election.


KING: Colorado Hills, California, last call. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. President Bush said he wouldn't base his policies on our foreign nations, yet he started the war based on 2 nations, Russia and England. And I'm wondering why the media has scrutinized this further? To me, this goes beyond a flip-flop, this is a belly flop.

WOODWARD: President Bush based the decision provided by our intelligence agencies, the CIA and all the other alphabet soups, 15 intelligence agencies. It was backed up by foreign services, but it was not in any way, a decision made on intelligence supplied by foreign governments. We got that one wrong ourselves.

KING: Is Tony Blair in big trouble in England?

WOODWARD: I don't know. He's been much more apologetic than President Bush has about the war, and the weapons of mass destruction. Blair acknowledged that he understands that you would have doubts or that he's had doubts about whether he did the right thing or not. And as we know, President Bush is very dramatically said he has no doubts.

KING: Bob, we'll see you election night. Great having you with us. Much good luck.

Bob Woodward, one of the best in the business, reporter and editor of the "Washington Post," Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. And again "Plan of Attack," major best seller in hard cover is now out in paperback.

We have a great show tomorrow. I'm going to tell you all about it right after this.


KING: Who is the biggest-selling female recording artist of all- time? Who is the No. 1 act in Las Vegas ever? Celine Dion is who. And she's our guest tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE.


International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.