The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!


Return to Transcripts main page


Interview With Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein

Aired June 2, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a prime-time exclusive. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the reporters who broke the Watergate story that brought down a presidency, in their first live prime-time interview since they got scooped by their legendary source, Deep Throat, when he suddenly revealed the identity they'd all kept secret for 30 years. Woodward and Bernstein for the hour, and your phone calls, next, on LARRY KING LIVE.
This is the middle -- toward the end of our 20th anniversary week. Twenty years ago last night, this program went on the air at CNN, in celebration at the same time of CNN's fifth birthday, and now their 25th. Dan Rather, the regularly scheduled guest for tonight's birthday week, will be with us in one hour. We'll be on two hours tonight, giving Aaron Brown the night off. So we'll do an hour with Dan Rather, one hour from now, take calls for Dan, too.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in this hour. Barbara Walters interviews me tomorrow night, to kind of wind up the week.

As we start with Bob Woodward in Washington, Carl Bernstein in New York. I want to play a clip, gentlemen, of Bill Clinton last night on this program when I asked him, what he made of the whole Mark Felt story. Watch.

Well, apparently, it didn't roll. But he said, on balance -- I don't know what happened to the tape -- but he said on balance, Carl, it was a good thing what he did.

CARL BERNSTEIN, WASHINGTON POST: I think that's right. The country was served because here was a man who told the truth while the president of the United States and the Justice Department and the apparatus of the government was engaged in massive corruption, and would not tell the truth about the most serious constitutional crimes in our history.

KING: Bob Woodward, during the course of this, and we'll get some history of how it all started and everything...


KING: Did you think he maybe was a little out of bounds?

WOODWARD: No. I never did, because he was what we always called "the reluctant source," somebody who did not come to us, somebody who would not say, this is everything that's going on, this is what the story is, these are documents. He would only guide us and steer us. And when we would find out something, he would confirm it. And there are many specifics in our book, "All the President's Men," but you see, it was really shoe leather, knocking on doors, Carl going down, finding various people like the bookkeeper, who said there's a secret fund. And then I could go to Mark Felt and say, OK, is that in the FBI files? What does it mean? And then we could talk to other sources, so we were on really solid ground when we were writing these stories. He was critical, but all these other people were also.

KING: Did you know Felt well, Carl?


KING: Did you ever meet him?

BERNSTEIN: I have never met Mark Felt. I didn't know his name. I knew he was the number two in the FBI very early. And I didn't know his name for a few more months.

The other thing is, Bob and I were trying to figure out this morning how many conversations and meetings there were with him over the course of two years. And it's fewer than a dozen, I think. So it's very important to understand that he provided us at some very crucial moments with context and certitude, with things we had obtained elsewhere for the most part, but we knew we were right. It made Ben Bradlee and the editors of "The Washington Post" more confident in what we were being told, and enabled us to know we were going in the right direction. And he kept saying, you're going in the right direction.

KING: How did they scoop you, Bob? How did "Vanity Fair" beat you?

WOODWARD: Well, they did some good reporting.

BERNSTEIN: Sure did.

WOODWARD: And they wrote a story that I think has been -- Bradlee said it has a top and a bottom. In other words, it says it's Felt and it's got no detail. This is a man who's 91 now, cared for lovingly by his family, by his daughter, Joan, who I got to know some over the years, who's interested in his welfare. She believed he was Deep Throat, but he is somebody who's -- I think this is a man, during Watergate and during the years since Watergate, was in turmoil, profound ambivalence about what he had done, whether he had broken the code within the FBI, or whether he had done something that was absolutely necessary to explain that there was this massive law- breaking and obstruction of justice going on, led by, as we now know, from the tapes, the president himself. So he found his duty, but never, I think, felt totally comfortable with it.

KING: What do you make, Carl, of the critics? Buchanan and others, who are saying that Felt is a traitor, Felt is out of line. This whole thing was wrong. He should have gone to the sources. BERNSTEIN: Sounds like what these people said about us 30 years ago, and the president of the United States said when they tried to make the conduct of the press the issue in Watergate and the conduct of Bob and myself and Ben Bradlee and "The Washington Post," instead of the conduct of the president and his men.

Now, it's the conduct again of the press and of the source. And here's the one honest source, as opposed to these people on these shows who were dishonest, went to jail, never told the truth.

Pat did not go to jail, obviously, but most of those we've seen on television are post-jail interviews.

KING: What will have happened, as was said by some critics, what would have happened -- in fact, Pat Buchanan's sister said it today -- why didn't Felt go to the attorney general?


BERNSTEIN: The attorney general went to jail.

KING: That's the problem, Bob, he had nowhere to go, right?

WOODWARD: Well, I mean, look at the outline of the cover-up. The attorney general, John Mitchell, was involved in trying to conceal, limit and monitor this investigation, as was John Dean, the White House counsel. Other lawyers in the White House, lawyers for the Committee for the Reelection of the President. And so, this idea of Mark Felt saying, you know, there was no one to go to in charge, who, unfortunately, wasn't part of what really was a criminal conspiracy.

At the same time -- and this is where chronology is so important in this -- as the story evolved and the cover-up became much clearer, Mark Felt, as other sources we had, never really knew everything, didn't really comprehend what it meant. The dots could not be connected by anyone. So there was not -- you know, I'm suspicious, this happened, there's a slush fund and all of these elements in Watergate, but I don't think anyone had the full story. In fact, I think today no one has the full story.

BERNSTEIN: That's right.

KING: But you guys, Carl, you made him famous, you named him Deep Throat.

BERNSTEIN: I didn't. The managing editor of "The Washington Post," Howard Simons did...

KING: The late Howard Simons.

BERNSTEIN: The late Howard Simons. And little did we know, even when we published "All the President's Men" that this -- there would be this mythology that would grow around this character. Because the reality was dramatic enough without adding the mythology. And it's -- there's a great lesson, journalistic lesson in the way this story broke, and that we didn't get it. And that is that, you know, reporters often think that they're in control of the story. The story controls the reporter. And it's always something to keep in mind, because it's happened to us, and it happens -- and that's the good thing about being a reporter. You never know what's going to happen.

KING: If you want to talk to two of the legends, Woodward and Bernstein, we'll be taking your calls.

We'll take a break on this 20th anniversary week of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


RICHARD NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me just say this. And I want to say this to the television audience. I've made my mistakes. But in all of my years of public life, I have never profited, never profited from public service. I've earned every cent.

And in all of my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice. And I think, too, that I can say that in my years of public life, that I welcome this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their president's a crook.

Well, I'm not a crook. I've earned everything I've got.




KING: When you drive by those collections of buildings, the hotel, the two apartment houses, the office building, do you feel weird, funny?

NIXON: Oh, no, I never give it a thought.

KING: Never give it a thought?

NIXON: Never give it a thought. That's one place where you just don't look back, as far as Watergate is concerned.

KING: In other words, you don't look up at the buildings themselves?

NIXON: Not at all. Not at all. As a matter of fact, I've never been in the Watergate.

KING: Never been in the hotel?

NIXON: Never been in the hotel, never been in the restaurant. I'm not one for going out that much anyway, as you know, and under the circumstances, though, I've never been there. I have many friends who live there and they tell me it's very nice.


KING: That interview with Richard Nixon will be repeated this Sunday night, winding up this LARRY KING LIVE week.

There are a couple times Mr. Felt is mentioned on the famed Watergate tapes. Here's one of them with the president, Nixon, talking to his adviser, John Dean.


JOHN DEAN, NIXON ADVISER: The only person that knows -- that is aware of it -- is Mark Felt, and we've talked about Mark Felt, and uh, I guess...

NIXON: What does it do to him, though? Let's face it. You know, suppose that Felt comes out and unwraps the whole thing. What does it do to him?

DEAN: He can't do it. It just...

NIXON: But my point is, who's going to hire him?

DEAN: That's right.

NIXON: Let's face it.

DEAN: He can't. He's...

NIXON: If he -- the guy that does that can go out and, uh, you mean, he's a -- of course, he couldn't do it unless he had a guarantee from somebody like "Time" magazine saying, "Look, we'll give you a job for life." Then what do they do? They put him in a job for life and everybody would treat him like a pariah. He's in a very dangerous situation.


KING: Bob Woodward, when those tapes were made public, why didn't everybody jump on Mark Felt as the answer?

WOODWARD: Because there were so many tapes, and Nixon, saying so much about so many people, and we were -- Carl and I and Ben Bradlee and "The Washington Post" -- were and are committed to protecting confidential sources. They're our lifeline, so we can get to a better version of the truth.

And you were talking at the beginning about being scooped, and how did we feel. I think Carl and I had the reaction of, oh, my god, what are we going to do now? And then we thought about this and realized, the family and the lawyer, I think as someone said, Felt unmasked himself, while still alive, and then we can confirm it, and tell some of the story, and we kept our word all the way through this.

And the plan was, when Mark Felt passed away, then we were going to tell the story. Of course, if that happened, there were going to be a number of people, I'm sure, saying, oh, he's not here to give us his version or answer, and there would be doubt about this. I think right now, I mean, you can -- you see that picture of the man standing -- or in a chair in the doorway or in the car, happy, and saying, look, I did this.

KING: In a sense, Carl, this became bigger by him breaking it than if he had died and you said it was him.

BERNSTEIN: If history -- I don't know. You're probably right. I'm amazed at how you (INAUDIBLE) story...

KING: Are you?

BERNSTEIN: Yes, I am. You know, you always tend to underestimate something when you're in the middle of it.

KING: So, this is bigger than you thought it would be?

BERNSTEIN: Yes. It really is. But also, as Bob says, the circumstances are different than we anticipated, and the importance to us over 30 years was, not just with Mark Felt and Deep Throat, but to protect all of our confidential sources who had said, we cannot release them from the pledge of confidentiality.

KING: How did you hear about it? How did you hear the "Vanity Fair"...

BERNSTEIN: Both Bob and I got a call around 10:00...

KING: From?

BERNSTEIN: ...from a guy named Friend, one of the editors of "Vanity Fair" where I am a contributing editor. I knew nothing about this. Bob knew nothing about this.

WOODWARD: The editor is always in the dark, particularly if he's contributing.

BERNSTEIN: That's right.

WOODWARD: Contributing ignorance.

BERNSTEIN: That's right.

KING: So what did he say to you on the phone?

BERNSTEIN: He said, look, we've got a story. We're printing it today. I want to get it to you. We didn't call you in advance. It's about Deep Throat. I'm going to send it to you, and I just wanted to give you guys a head up -- heads up -- and I got it and I immediately called Bob.

KING: Did he tell you on the phone it was Mark Felt?

BERNSTEIN: No, he did not. KING: Did not.

BERNSTEIN: And I saw it and I said, well, they certainly have it, and, at the time, it was very unclear that they really had it enough in a credible way for Mark Felt himself.

KING: Which is why you didn't go...

BERNSTEIN: So, we went through the day, in fact, saying, we're not going to reveal his identity until we were 100 percent sure that our bond and that our word would not be broken by confirming it. And finally, "The Washington Post" it was clear was going to confirm it, not us, but "The Washington "Post was right and we were released by the family.

KING: Bob, why did you choose to write the whole story today of your meeting with him from the day you were in the Navy, to go through this whole thing which appeared not only in "The Post," but many newspapers?

WOODWARD: Believe me, it's not the whole story. It's just a little bit of the start of the story. And Len Downey, the editor, rightly said that we -- "The Washington Post" is so identified with Watergate and Deep Throat, that we owed it to our readers to kind of answer one of the -- but it's only one of the questions about this, how did it start, how did I meet him.

BERNSTEIN: It's a key part of the puzzle. I mean, it really -- people need to know that piece that's in "The Post."

KING: Here's another clip we're going to play for you. This is President Nixon with one of his aides, top aides, the late H.R. Haldeman. Listen.


NIXON: Either way -- either way, the -- informer is not wanted in our society. Either way, that's the one thing people do sort of line up against. They...

DEAN: That's right.

NIXON: They say, "Well, that son-of-a-bitch informed. I don't want him around. We wouldn't want him around, would we?


KING: What about those who are saying, Carl, that Mark Felt is a guy who wanted to be head of the FBI and all this was revenge?

BERNSTEIN: I think that's a much too simplistic way to interpret it. He obviously felt an obligation to the truth. He felt an obligation, I think, to the Constitution. He realized that there was a corrupt presidency, that the Constitution was being undermined, and he was disappointed about not being made head of the FBI, and he was disappointed that the FBI that he loved and revered was being misused as part of a criminal conspiracy by J. Edgar Hoover's successor, Patrick Gray III.

KING: By today's standards, Bob, did Mark Felt break the law?

WOODWARD: No, I don't think so. I think -- and again, what -- and this is part of the additional story -- that he was careful to give us guidance. He didn't give us direct information from FBI files or reports, and his rigid agreement -- at his insistence, we were not even supposed to say that we had such a source, and this is where, technically, in journalistic terms, the conversations were on deep background, and that's why the managing editor at "The Post" said well, you know, he's talking, it's deep background, your garage freak or something like that. And he says, Deep Throat, and then that name...

BERNSTEIN: The pornographic movie of the day.

WOODWARD: Of the day. That's right.

BERNSTEIN: Times have changed.

KING: No pun intended, the story stuck, obviously. It did -- it played well with the masses, and took off from there. Now, the rest is history.

By the way, before we go to break, just as an aside -- it's nothing to do with this -- what were you doing at the White House today, Woodward? This is my source.

WOODWARD: OH, you have a source that I was at the White House? Um, I'm doing a book on the second Bush term, and I was doing an interview over there. I moved the flower pot this morning, and the source didn't show up, so I thought I'd go bang...

BERNSTEIN: That's a good picture.

WOODWARD: ... on the gate and talk to him directly.

KING: Was it Bush you talked to today?

WOODWARD: You know, I...

KING: You could tell me, who did you...

WOODWARD: Yeah, I can't tell you. And I won't. We're really serious about protecting sources, even people in the White House.

KING: All right. I'll get down to the garage and find out.

BERNSTEIN: That's right. See if the car's still there if you're lucky.

KING: We'll be right back with more. At the bottom of the hour, we'll include your phone calls. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) H.R. HALDEMAN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: You can't say anything about this because it will screw up our source and there's real concern. Mitchell is the only one who knows this, and he feels very strongly that we should -- we better not do anything because...

NIXON: Can't do anything? Never.

HALDEMAN: If we move on him, he'll go out and unload everything. He knows everything that's to be known in the FBI. He has access to absolutely everything. Ehrlichman doesn't know this yet. I just got this information. I was going to tell everybody around, tell them the source.

NIXON: Can't tell him. Don't tell him the source.

HALDEMAN: I'm not going to, but you tell him the fact, suggest that he, without saying that we know that. Tell him that Gray, he doesn't know anything about this, but he knows that fact that we must not have confidence in Mark Felt.




KING: Did you read "Silent Coup," which says that it wasn't -- that that whole story of Watergate was wrong. We've had it wrong all these years.

NIXON: I've addressed the subject, as you know, in my memoirs and in the other book, which you interviewed me on. And I really haven't anything to add.

KING: Did you read "Silent Coup?"

NIXON: No, I don't. I don't read current history. And I don't read about my period of life, except my own books.


KING: Bob Woodward, did Mr. Felt like the book? Did he like the movie?

WOODWARD: I'll tell you, that -- that's part of the story that we're going to tell later on in all of this. We're trying to put something together, and get it out as quickly -- I mean, what is so important, particularly at this time, is we explained to people exactly how the relationship developed, how the information was used, what was the nature of the relationship with Mark Felt in the 30 years since Nixon resigned, that is a long period of time, and there were lots of reactions, and we decided to lay those out in detail.

And they are good questions. I just -- I want to make sure that we put it all together. We're in a period when people have lots of suspicion and distrust about journalism. This can be an opportunity to explain exactly, precisely what happened at each turn in the road.

KING: And you'll come back on when it comes out, which is when, Carl?

BERNSTEIN: As soon as it can get out, and we can...

KING: July? August?

BERNSTEIN: You know, this story is two days old now.

KING: But how much of it is written already?

BERNSTEIN: Bob has written a good bit of it.

KING: Will the book be by both of you?

BERNSTEIN: It will probably be by both of us in some way. We're trying to figure out exactly how to do it.

KING: Is this set to go? I mean, like -- how soon?

BERNSTEIN: Parts of it are. I think within the next few months certainly, and as fast as possible. And at the same time, trying to understand...

WOODWARD: Sooner than that.

KING: Sooner than that.

BERNSTEIN: He's always quicker than I am.

KING: Have you got a -- therefore, you have a publisher? You have a deal already?

WOODWARD: Well, we can -- we can get a deal, that's for sure. And it -- but it -- it -- you know, and our concern is that -- and Carl makes this point, and it's a critical one, that the business of this kind of journalism, trying to get to the bottom of something complicated, hidden, scandalous, or important decisions by people who have lots of power, involves lots of sources. Not one source, not 10, but dozens or even hundreds.

BERNSTEIN: You know, Bob said right after Watergate, that really, what this story was about, like all reporting, or good reporting, is the best obtainable version of the truth. And that phrase has always stuck with me about what real reporting is. When we did "All the President's Men," it turned out unintentionally it was maybe a primer on the basic kind of police reporting and slogging and knocking on doors.

Now, 30 years later, the story has moved. And this last act, as it were, has great journalistic lessons, the same way the first did in "All the President's Men."

KING: It's still who, what, where and why? BERNSTEIN: It still is. But now look at the difference in media today. Look at -- could this have happened today? Remember, we were out on our own. There were a couple of other reporters working pretty hard on this story, but "The Washington Post," our stories were not believed by our colleagues in the press. And at the same time, there were only three networks, no 24-hour newscasts. I'm not at all sure that the same way that Buchanan and Liddy and all these guys have gotten on this week and said, oh, it's all a bunch of nonsense, had they had that soapbox, that 24-hour soapbox then, it might have been more difficult. I don't know.

KING: They'd have killed it?

BERNSTEIN: It's history. We don't know.

KING: Do you think it might have killed it, Woodward?

WOODWARD: Here is -- here is the problem. And that is the impatience that everyone has. Tell us the latest.

BERNSTEIN: That's right.

WOODWARD: This insistence on speed. Carl and I could work for two or three weeks on a story. We wrote our stories on things, you have to say to people who are younger, called typewriters. And it was done on six-ply paper, there were an original and five carbons. And it would go to Bradlee and the other editors, and then they would read it. And there was a sense, not -- it was not a calm time, but it was a -- let's look at this story. People would ask questions. I've read this here, I heard this here. This doesn't make sense. Go back to this source, find another source.

We could work for weeks on a story, as we did.


WOODWARD: And then what happens now, if you have what looks like an incremental advance on a story, somebody will be in your office saying, can we get it on the Web site by 9:00 a.m.? Well, if everyone's going to be doing the very latest thing, you know, often the latest is true, but it doesn't have any meaning, because there's no context.

KING: We'll take a break and come back, and you get a chance to talk to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. And this book will tell the whole story, and from the way Woodward talks, it will be out tomorrow morning. And we'll be back.

BERNSTEIN: On the Web.

KING: We'll be right back. Don't go away.


NIXON: I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as president, I must put the interests of America first. America needs a full-time president, and a full-time congress, therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as president at that hour in this office.



KING: We're back with the biggest stories in America today. Who'd have thunk it. Woodward and Bernstein.

By the way, Dan Rather will be with us at the top of the hour. There will be a second hour of LARRY KING LIVE tonight. That program will begin at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific with Dan Rather.

Before we take the calls, one thing, Carl, in 1999, "The Hartford Current" ran the story saying that your son had told a buddy in camp 11 years before that Mark Felt was "Deep Throat."

BERNSTEIN: He didn't know. I would never have told my children or anyone in my family. The only people that knew were Bob, myself and Ben Bradlee. But his mom made a very educated guess. And I would never confirm it. And...

KING: She guessed it?

BERNSTEIN: And I would never confirm it.

KING: She guessed it?

BERNSTEIN: She did. She did. But she never knew for sure.

KING: Did you ever tell your wife, Bob?

WOODWARD: Yes, I told my wife, Elsa Walsh, even before we married. We have a relationship of total trust. And this was such a part of my life, I just shared, and she obviously kept the secret also.

BERNSTEIN: And our wives are both the -- now the -- they control our papers in the event that anything happens to us, including the identity of the sources.

KING: Those papers have been sold to...

BERNSTEIN: At the University of Texas.

KING: Mont Claire, California, for Woodward and Bernstein, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Larry, thank you for taking my call. I would like to ask Mr. Woodward if he's aware of any type of relationship Mr. Felt may have had with Mr. Haldeman? Thank you.

WOODWARD: It's a good -- these tapes -- and Mark Felt was somebody who was kind of summoned to the White House by Nixon's aides at various times. But I really don't think they had a specific relationship. Carl, does that ring a bell?

BERNSTEIN: That sounds right to me. But there is a discussion on the tapes where both Haldeman and Nixon speculate about Felt's being -- Felt's being Jewish. And if perhaps that might be a reason for somehow him being an enemy of the White House. In fact, neither of us is sure if he was Jewish or not.


BERNSTEIN: I don't think so.

But he was Irish. But he could have been Irish-Jewish. But I don't know the answer to that question.

KING: Do you, Bob?

WOODWARD: Yes. He is not Jewish. And, you know, there is an Irish background. And I think he's non-denominational also.


WOODWARD: So, you know -- but you listen to that tape, and, you know, it's -- it so reminds you of the mindset of Watergate, and this hate, this willingness to categorize people, and I -- anyway.

KING: Now that you mention it, let's hear that tape. Watch.


HALDEMAN: Maybe he's tied to the Kennedy's somehow. Maybe he's playing this game, building himself up.

NIXON: Is he Catholic?

HALDEMAN: I don't know.

NIXON: Find out.


NIXON: Jesus Christ, (INAUDIBLE) Hoover put a Jew in there.


BERNSTEIN: Enough said.

KING: Chicago, hello.

CALLER: Hi there. How concerned were both of you that may have gotten the story wrong?

BERNSTEIN: Very. And we did make a mistake. And we made a pretty big mistake. And it turned out to be a mistake of attribution, where we had said that someone had testified that there was a secret fund that paid for Watergate, controlled by Nixon's top advisers, and that someone had testified to the grand jury to that effect, when in fact there was no testimony by that person. But it set us back.

You know, I think our greatest fear was of being wrong. And that one of the things that "Deep Throat" did was, at several crucial moments, we knew we were right when we had a couple sources. And then "Deep Throat" would say that's right.

KING: When did you know, Bob, that you had the total picture?

WOODWARD: You know, quite honestly, not even today.

BERNSTEIN: Now, I don't.

WOODWARD: You -- it is so incremental. And this is a story that went on for over two years before Nixon resigned. Carl and I did a second book, "The Final Days," which was a look at the collapse of the Nixon presidency, and the scramble for him to save himself before he resigned.

And they're books that come out, they're tapes that come out, every season we joke at "The Washington Post," there's a new batch of Nixon tapes. And we say this is the gift that keeps giving. Because it is this portrait of criminality.

And even at the same time, and Carl, I think, looks at this the same way, that there's been so many decades, you have to look at Nixon and say, well, what were his good traits? And he had some. And he was a very, very smart man. And he did lots of things in foreign affairs that were important. But the story of Nixon will never die as long as there's history.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more phone calls for Woodward and Bernstein. Dan Rather at the top of the hour. Barbara Walters will host this program tomorrow night. Don't go away.


NIXON: You're here to say good-bye to us. And we don't have a good word for it in English. The best is au revoir, we'll see you again.





NICK JONES, MARK FELT'S GRANDSON: My grandfather's pleased that he's being honored as his role Deep Throat with his friend Bob Woodward. He's also pleased by the attention this has drawn to his career and his 32 years of service to his country, but he believes in his heart that the men and women of the FBI who have put their lives at risk for more than 50 years to keep this country safe deserve recognition more than he. Mark had expressed reservations in the past about revealing his identity and about whether his actions were appropriate for an FBI man. But, as he recently told my mother, I guess people used to think Deep Throat was a criminal, but now they think he's a hero.


KING: Palm Coast, Florida, for Woodward and Bernstein, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Did Felt ever receive any money for the submission of this story?

KING: Do you know, Bob?

WOODWARD: No. I don't believe so. I mean, "Vanity fair," the magazine that scooped us, as they say, says they did not pay the family any money. Certainly I or Carl of "The Washington Post" have paid him no money...

KING: But did they pay...

WOODWARD: ...and will pay them no money.

KING: They paid John O'Connor, the attorney who wrote the story.

BERNSTEIN: $10,000, they said they paid him. And I -- it's unclear to me who owns the rights, the subsequent rights to that story.

KING: How would -- how would...

BERNSTEIN: It could be the family.

KING: How could Mark Felt, he's 91 years old...

BERNSTEIN: Well, you know he said he...

KING: How could he make money off of this?

BERNSTEIN: You know, it's very funny. There've been a number of people from the Nixon administration who've said that, god, it'd be terrible if he made money off of this. I certainly don't begrudge him making any money off of it, considering the people who went to jail for this and made money from their books.

Conceivably, by writing a book, or his family writing a book or his lawyer writing a book, or a television series, I think there could be a number of ways.

KING: What kind of mental shape was he in, Bob? How recently have you seen him?

WOODWARD: It was a number of years ago I talked to him and it was clear to me that he -- and this was the reluctance we had -- that he has dementia, and he -- his memory is often non-existent on critical matters, and he is somebody 91 years old. I mean, if I can say this, my father is exactly the same age, and in a nursing home, and you -- as Nancy Reagan said, it's the long good-bye, and it is -- it is at a point where you can't have contact with somebody you really don't know. If they say something, or have some response, you know, what -- where it's coming from, whether it's really coming from that person who previously existed.

KING: So you wouldn't know, Carl, if he kept notes or anything? Or a journal?

BERNSTEIN: I do not know.

KING: Carl was shocked. Were you, Bob, shocked, at the reaction to this story, because, after all, we can make the case that anyone under 40 doesn't know what we're talking about.

WOODWARD: Well, it's one of the secrets that is no longer a secret, and that always has a certain allure with everyone. You know, it -- the Nixon presidency and its demise was a pivot point in history. It changed everything. It changed the nature of government, changed the nature of our business, had a big impact on Congress. And so, we are living in a post-Watergate era, and anyone who looks at things is going to say, this is -- you know, how did we get there? Who did it?

There is always -- as Carl was quite rightly pointing out, all of these people who were former Nixon aides, or a good number of them, coming out. You know, it's the same old crowd, kind of saying -- pointing the finger at look at what somebody else is doing and never wanting anyone to point it at them.

And in a sense, this, I guess, has unleashed once again the wars of Watergate. There's a struggle here. It is a political struggle of great significance to the country, and I think the role of Mark Felt is going to be debated for a long, long time. A lot of people who may agree that -- are glad that he did this, are going to be very, very reluctant to endorse the tactic of talking to a reporter in the clandestine way he did. We feel, as reporters, we've vetted it and had other sources, and that this was necessity in a serious moment of crisis.

BERNSTEIN: It's a fault line in our history, and the great thing about the story coming out now is that we have the tapes, so that always you can go back to the tapes to understand that Watergate was a unique criminal presidency in our history.

KING: What do I do, as a reader, if a journalist I believe in writes an informed source told him or her this?

BERNSTEIN: You need anonymous sources to get to the truth. Do reporters sometimes abuse that? Yes. Interestingly enough, really good editors today, more than when we were doing this story, demand of their reporters that the editors know who those anonymous sources are. There's much more identification of those sources in terms of, are they in the Army, are they in the Navy, are they men, women, are they Republicans, are they Democrats, so you can help guide the reader to see if the source has an ax to grind.

KING: Don't most sources have an ax to grind?

BERNSTEIN: But remember -- look, there's ambiguity in all human interaction, and we all have a point of view that we're trying to get across usually. And sure, the source does. But our job is to see that it's the best obtainable version of the truth, to see that somebody else -- the vantage point of somebody else who knows the same set of facts, or a different set of facts and compare them. Keep looking for more information, compare it, find more sources. That's what this is about.

KING: More in our remaining moments with Woodward and Bernstein. And then another hour coming with Dan Rather. Don't go away.


GERALD R. FORD, FMR. PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution, have granted, and by these presence do grant, a full, free and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in, during the period from July 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.




ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR: Supposedly he's got a lawyer with $25,000 in a brown paper bag.

HAL HOLBROOK, ACTOR: Follow the money.

REDFORD: What do you mean? Where?

HOLBROK: I can't tell you that.

REDFORD: But you could tell me.

HOLBROOK: No, I have to do this my way. You tell me what you know, and I'll confirm. I'll keep you in the right direction if I can. But that's all. Just follow the money.


KING: That's Hal Holbrook as Mark Felt. Hal Holbrook, who's also Mark Twain.

Nashville, Tennessee, hello.

CALLER: The clip leads right into my question. The phrase, "follow the money," which was in the movie, obviously, but I don't believe was in the book. Did Deep Throat ever actually say that exact phrase?

KING: Bob?

WOODWARD: Yeah, that's a very good question. It was Dan Shore (ph) who discovered that -- we thought it was in the book. It's not in the book, or our notes. There are phrases like that, and the clear implication is, get on the trail of the money. But the simple phrase, "follow the money," as best we can tell, he did not say.

In summarizing it for the people making the movie, we gave them that line, and it's reflective of the point, but the phrase ain't there.

KING: Humphrey Bogart never said, "play it again, Sam."

You saved all your notes?

BERNSTEIN: Everything. You know...

KING: Every note? That's in Texas, right?

BERNSTEIN: You would not think I'm the meticulous one, and I'm clearly not. But about a week into this thing, I said to Woodward, I said, you know, we better keep every scrap of paper here. And I got took some file folders and started throwing stuff in them. And that's the basis of what's the University of Texas got. I don't think we threw out a thing.

KING: You saved everything you had, Bob?

WOODWARD: I sure tried to. And...

BERNSTEIN: And they're as hard to read today as they were then.

WOODWARD: There are hundreds of boxes, I believe, or certainly more than 100. And under our agreement with them, they do not get the individual files of confidential sources until those sources are deceased. So we have lots of them locked up here in Washington. And as people pass away, or in the case of Mark Felt, unmask themselves, we will send the notes down there, so people literally can see exactly what we did step by step.

KING: Down there is the University of Texas.


KING: What did you think of the pardon?

BERNSTEIN: At the time, I thought it was a terrible thing. Today, I think it was a brave and great act. And Gerald Ford was a great president because of it.

KING: What changed your mind?

BERNSTEIN: That, as he said in that address, "our national nightmare is over," and it enabled the country to move on. And the great thing about it was that, my concern at the time, like many people, was that we would never know things about the Nixon presidency that we had to know. Well, it turns out we're still learning, because of the tapes. And you know, Bob talks about the wars of Watergate, and listening to some people, it's a little like listening to those Japanese soldiers who keep appearing in the Philippines and don't know the war is over. There's some of that, because the tapes make everything pretty clear.

KING: Bob Woodward, we have about a minute-and-a-half. Mark Felt, what's history going to say? Is he a footnote or an important part?

WOODWARD: He's an important part. But, you know, you don't know what history is going to say. And he -- there is something about the way he did, and when I think all of this is put together -- he was a man conflicted, in turmoil. Truly a man of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI, who saw all of these things going on. And at the same time, I was able, through the accident of history, of meeting him and developing a friendship, a personal relationship, I was able to, you know, as a reporter, the truth is, you can -- somebody you know personally, you can get help, where if you don't know that person personally, you're going to have less of an opportunity to get help.

So that personal relationship, his consternation and alarm, and the rules he set out. I mean, Hal Holbrook's got it right. Look, I'm going to -- no, I'm not going to tell you. You tell me what you've got.

KING: Thank you, Bob Woodward. Thank you, Carl Bernstein. We'll have you both back as soon as that book comes out, even if it's next week.

BERNSTEIN: We'll be here.

KING: Thank you, Carl.

BERNSTEIN: Good to see you.

KING: Thank you, Robert.

Woodward and Bernstein. They changed the face of American journalism.

Normally, we would be saying good night, but we're only saying we'll be right back with Dan Rather on another edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


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.