Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Encore Presentation: Interview With Bob Woodward
Aired October 8, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Bob Woodward and the bombshell book that could rock next month's elections. What did the White House know about the situation in Iraq that it didn't tell the American public? Has the administration from President Bush on down failed to tell the truth; legendary investigative journalist Bob Woodward, with your calls and e-mails, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: It's out only three days. It's number one on Amazon.com. We're in Washington with Bob Woodward, an old friend, and the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, assistant managing editor of "The Washington Post." The bombshell book is "State of Denial, Bush at War Part III."
Bob, there appears to be a 180-degree turn here. The Bush in "Bush at War" and "Plan of Attack" is he different from the Bush in this book?
BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "STATE OF DENIAL": Well, the circumstances were different. The first book, "Bush at War," was about the response to 9/11. Even John Kerry said that Bush did a good job on that. "Plan of Attack" was about the decision to go to war in Iraq. Three- quarters of the Congress, both the House and the Senate, voted to support that war. So, now this is about the last three and a half years and it's not a happy story.
KING: When you started it did you know where you were going?
WOODWARD: No, absolutely not.
KING: You had no idea it would turn out this way?
WOODWARD: When you're in this business you have not the foggiest idea. You have no idea who's going to talk. You have no idea about the meetings you don't know about. You're in the dark.
KING: Early on were you surprised?
WOODWARD: I was and, you know, I brought this here because there's been some question from the White House. Dan Bartlett, who is the counselor to the president, has said it seemed that I had an attitude or had reached...
KING: An agenda. WOODWARD: Well, he didn't literally say. He said that it seemed I had reached some conclusions. So, earlier this year I took him, in fact this is a copy of what I gave him of notes of a National Security Council meeting right before the war when Jay Garner, who was running things over there or going to in the first months, came to talk to the president and, in the notes, which are in the book, Jay Garner said "I can't do four of the things you've assigned me to do of the nine things," which were the hard ones.
KING: And you gave these notes?
WOODWARD: To Bartlett and I said, "Is there more? Is there any response?" It has the president's response essentially being -- saying to Garner, you know, "What's your accent? Where did you get that accent?" And "Kick ass Jay." And there was no substantive engagement. I never heard back.
KING: The Bush who was going to war, the Bush whom you praised.
WOODWARD: Well, I didn't praise. I described. And, I mean as you know the Bush who was going to war, the second book "Plan of Attack" the Kerry campaign recommended. Kerry went out on the campaign trail.
KING: You know you had critics who said that Woodward had access and therefore because of access was nice to these people.
WOODWARD: Well but they haven't read the book then because, if you read the book, it looks both ways. And, it does. That's just a fact.
KING: I want to toss to a sound byte.
KING: Among the examples of Bush's public optimism about Iraq that you cite is this speech in Chicago. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Years from now people will look back on the formation of a unity government in Iraq as a decisive moment in the story of liberty, a moment when freedom gained a firm foothold in the Middle East and the forces of terror began their long retreat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Was he kidding? Did he know he was not telling the truth? What was he doing there?
WOODWARD: Well, I don't know but what I found out right around this time there's a secret report from the intelligence division of the Joint Chief of Staff saying things are going to get worse. And, the terrorists in Iraq maintain this capability and in the year 2007, that's next year, it's going to get worse. He's saying, as you heard, that they're in retreat.
KING: So, what do you make of this, Bob? I mean you know him. You've spent a lot of hours with him. I've interviewed him a few times but not like you, didn't have all that access to go in. What do you make (INAUDIBLE)?
WOODWARD: Here's what I make of it. He's an optimist. He's a leader in a time of a really difficult war, a war of choice, a war he decided on, and it's Bush's war, no question about it and it's gone south and it's become more and more violent and more and more difficult.
Now, for the earlier books I talked to him about this issue. I said, "After 9/11, you were the voice of realism. People praised you for telling the truth and coming to the American public and saying it's going to be a long war. It's going to be a difficult war." Now, in this period of difficulty and darkness, we have not been getting the straight story unfortunately.
KING: Did he see you for this book?
WOODWARD: No, he did not. He declined.
KING: Do you know why?
WOODWARD: Well, Dan Bartlett has said because he felt I had reached some conclusions. I'd reached no conclusions. I had lots of secret memos and notes of what they had done and how they had done it and that his response to the man he put in charge of post war Iraq was when the man said, and your producer comes to you and says "I can't do the things you've assigned me to do," you don't go say "kick ass."
KING: Rumsfeld is denying everything. I don't think he's read it yet but he said, for example, for accuse him of not returning calls from other people. He said he does return calls.
WOODWARD: OK, now let's just take that. I mean this is an example.
KING: You call it non-denial denial.
WOODWARD: Yes. But this is a denial and Andy Card was on NBC tonight and other matters -- I'm sorry it was in FOX News he was asked about this and Andy Card said, "Well, they're type A personalities. Things get emotional."
And the interviewer after Card gave a long answer said, "So, I take that as a yes." Of course. I've done -- Andy Card has said publicly that I interviewed him and he said that one of the difficulties was at certain points and on certain issues Rumsfeld would not return Rice's calls.
KING: Is this -- are there aspects of this that's a throwback to Watergate? I mentioned non-denial denial, which was prevalent in Watergate. WOODWARD: It's an -- there are no crimes alleged in this and Watergate, of course, was about crimes. But this is about war and this is about the biggest commitment this country has made in this century so far and the stakes could not be higher.
And, you know, I mean I will say this to you as a citizen, as somebody who served in the military, it pained me to see that the approach that they had adopted in this, not just this year or in 2005, but at the beginning was a kind of denial. Let's pretend it's another way or maybe we'll get a break.
KING: Does it cause you to worry for your country?
WOODWARD: You know, I guess you always worry for our country. I think one of the nice things is that you can go do this and put it out and explain to people what you have found and get the memos and the information and the non-denial denials and the confirmation and people can make their judgment.
KING: You can affect an election though.
WOODWARD: No but see that's...
KING: You don't think so?
WOODWARD: Look, this is just reporting and I've done it for 35 years and sometimes it has an impact and sometimes it doesn't and this is done to fulfill my obligation as a reporter.
KING: So you're saying this is -- let the chips fall. If they fall, they fall.
WOODWARD: Of course.
KING: We'll be right back with Bob Woodward. The book is "State of Denial." This is LARRY KING LIVE in Washington.
We've got e-mails. We'll take your phone calls, lots to get to, don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Either you say, yes it's important and we stay there to get it done, or we leave. We're not leaving, so long as I'm the president. That would be a huge mistake.
They can expect tough sledding and they can expect a grateful commander-in-chief and a grateful nation.
We will stay. We will fight. And, we will win in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You got a lot of juicy gossip in the book and people will have all the time they want to go through it but the fundamental question about whether the president is "in denial," flat wrong, absolutely wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Want to respond to Mr. Snow?
WOODWARD: Well, the evidence going way, way back is that there is a kind of denial. Let me give you an example and there are dozens in the book. November 11, 2003, now this is six months, eight months after the invasion the top CIA man, a guy named Rob Rischer (ph), who is head of the division for the Near East for the Middle East for the CIA, this is one of these operatives you never hear about or see, been to Iraq, went to the seven bases we had and he came back and briefed President Bush and the NSC.
And, he said there's an insurgency out there. Don Rumsfeld, who was there said, "Well, I'm not sure I agree with you." The CIA man gets out The Pentagon's manual which says, look, an insurgency is defined this way, popular support, ability to strike at will, ability to move at will, and says it meets all of these criteria.
President Bush says "Well, I don't think we're there yet and I don't want any of my cabinet officers saying there's an insurgency. I don't want to read about it in "The New York Times."
KING: Is this...
WOODWARD: Now what is that? Now, what you also find in the research at that time, the month before, attacks zoomed up, insurgent attacks on our forces and Iraqis to 1,000 in the month of October, 2003. Now that's 30 attacks a day. That's one an hour.
Now, imagine if there was -- in this country if there were attacks one an hour, you'd say something's going on and the concern should not be what's "The New York Times" going to say? The concern should be how do we deal with this?
KING: Is this devious or incompetent?
WOODWARD: You know, again, I'm not judging, no evidence that it's devious. Bush is an optimist. What it is, it's inattentiveness. They thought this was going to be easy. They thought, as Cheney...
KING: You quote him from this show.
WOODWARD: ...saying yes.
KING: The insurgency is over.
KING: It's over. WOODWARD: Yes, the throw in the last throws. And then that's the next year and the attacks are going up again. I think, look, there's a lot of idealism behind this war in terms of Bush. Now, a lot of people would disagree with that. I spent a lot of time looking at his decision to go to war and he believes, and he told me and he jumped in a chair when he said, "I believe we have a duty to free people." He wants to do that.
It has not turned out that way. Now things often don't turn out the way you expect. But this has been three and a half years of increasing violence. I talked to a CIA person who came back recently. He said, "It's like a Mad Max movie over there. We do not -- we do not control any territory," he said "unless we sit on it."
KING: Dan Bartlett, you mentioned him earlier, over the weekend he gave an explanation of why the administration decided against having Bush or Cheney sit down with you for this book. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN BARTLETT, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: On certain occasions when he met with administration officials and they would come to talk to me about their meetings with him, there was just a sense that despite spending hours with them that their points weren't getting across.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So you thought he had an agenda?
BARTLETT: I'm not going to use the word agenda but we did feel like he approached this book different than he did the first two and that's why we made the decision that the president was not going to participate in it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And the vice president didn't speak with him either.
BARTLETT: That's correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Is that true?
WOODWARD: No, it's not true.
KING: You didn't approach this book any differently?
WOODWARD: I may -- how could I and why would I and why would people...
KING: What was his feeling based on?
WOODWARD: Look, the fact is I brought, as I mentioned, information to them that reflected this inattentiveness that reflected a kind of denial and, of course, I asked about it. I said, "Why did the president make this response when the top guy just back from Iraq, the top guy from the CIA said it's an insurgency?" And he just said, you know, what I quoted about cabinet officers and "The New York Times." Now, I wish he'd said something that he worried about "The Washington Post" not just "The New York Times."
KING: How do you respond to your critics over the years who have said you're favorable to people if they give you an interview, not favorable if they don't?
WOODWARD: Read the book and one of the few people who was on the record at length is Don Rumsfeld. I mean that demonstrates...
KING: He doesn't come off very good.
WOODWARD: Well, look, he is the man who's the deputy president for war in practice and there are lots of questions about him that lots of people have, generals and others in the White House.
KING: We'll be fight back with more of Bob Woodward. We'll have e-mails and phone calls. The book is "State of Denial." Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I mean the fact is, Larry, I submitted my resignation to President Bush twice during that period. Before I could even think about it, the president came out and said "You're not going to resign."
BUSH: I hear the voices and I read the front page and I know the speculation but I'm the decider and I decide what is best and what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Why do you think he holds on to Secretary Rumsfeld?
WOODWARD: I think he believes in -- believes in him and one of the things I report in the book is that Andy Card, when he was chief of staff, at least three times really went to the president and recommended specifically that Rumsfeld be replaced and Card just didn't say it that way. He said, "And I think you should put Jim Baker," who was the former secretary of state "in as defense secretary."
KING: Condoleezza Rice disputing the book's account of a July 10, 2001 meeting. She has no specific recollection. She said, "I would remember if I was told, as this account apparently says, that there was about to be an attack in the United States. The idea that I would somehow have ignored that I find incomprehensible."
WOODWARD: Well, as I understand it, I don't want to misspeak but then apparently the spokesman for the State Department held a briefing recently saying they have discovered there was such a meeting.
Now, I do not report in the book where Tenet and the CIA people came in and said, you know, "We know exactly where there's going to be an attack." Now this was two months before 9/11.
What I report is they came in and said, "We're giving you strategic warning. There's so much noise in the intelligence system here. We think something is going to happen." Dick Clarke in his book quotes Tenet around this time saying, "I have a sixth sense it's coming."
KING: Former President Bush, who will be a guest here Thursday night, is quoted in your book as confiding to someone that Condy Rice was a disappointment that she's not up to the job as secretary of state. That's on page 420. Who was the someone?
WOODWARD: As it is in the book Brent Scowcroft who had been his national security adviser.
KING: And who was opposed to the war right?
WOODWARD: Opposed to the war and who really was kind of -- Condy Rice was one of his young staffers on the National Security Council for Bush, Sr.
KING: Speaking of formers, for the first time we learned through your book that Henry Kissinger is called upon by this White House. I think he said the other day, sort of in passing, that lots of former secretaries of state and other officials are called in by lots of administrations. It doesn't mean that they're wielding any influence. They're just offering their thoughts.
WOODWARD: Yes but...
KING: I'm paraphrasing but I think that's what he said.
WOODWARD: But as Cheney told me, Kissinger is, excuse me, the person they see the most often. In fact, Cheney said...
KING: Cheney told you that?
WOODWARD: Cheney told me.
KING: But I thought he didn't interview.
WOODWARD: In a discussion he told me about this and said he meets with Kissinger once a month and the president every two or three months. Kissinger has gone on television and said he had about 15 to 20 meetings with this president. That's a lot of meetings.
KING: Does it mean he has impact or just thoughts?
WOODWARD: Well, trace the chain of what happened. Kissinger goes out and writes in August of '05 that in Iraq victory is the only meaningful exit strategy. About three months later, the White House comes out with what's called the plan for victory right out of Kissinger's play book.
KING: And did that surprise you when you learned?
WOODWARD: It did.
KING: Because they never speak about Henry Kissinger.
WOODWARD: I know, exactly, and in fact Andy Card is quote in the book saying that Kissinger was almost like family. He was told "Any time you're in town, call and see if the president's available and stop by."
KING: Tony Snow said that the president listens to everybody and he gets all kinds of input. Who do you know that talks to him that is critical of the war that has his ear?
WOODWARD: That's a good question. I report in the book what happened with Senator Hagel, the Republican from Nebraska, who went to the White House for lunch, took the president aside and said something rather bold. He said, "You're bubbled in. You're not talking to people. You need to talk to people."
And so, Hagel had some meetings with Steve Hadley, the national security advisor, and there was lots of talk and so forth and Hagel then came out publicly and said they're denying reality. They won't get people in and really listen, you know. It's one thing to have kind of, you know, small meetings and discussions. It's another thing to say "I really want to know what you think."
KING: With all you've learned and all you've gotten in this volume where is it going to end?
WOODWARD: I don't know.
KING: Where is this going?
WOODWARD: I don't know. I mean that's not, you know, my job. I'm trying to chronicle what happened. Who knows? I mean it's -- for me personally the alternative title for this book was "Crisis." It's a crisis. This is a big war. This is not just defining the George Bush presidency or the era we live in. In fact, I point out that Kissinger's view publicly stated is this is more important than Vietnam because it's the Middle East.
KING: How did they -- what did they read wrong about the insurgency? What did they see?
WOODWARD: It was a total surprise. It was a total surprise. They didn't see it coming.
KING: No top official saw it except the CIA guy who reported it.
WOODWARD: I don't think so. Well, at that point it was obvious. At the begin -- well, actually there are some things that we uncovered. Bill Murphy, my assistant, found somebody, a colonel who gave a briefing and it was called the Black Hawk Down Strategy.
And it said that Saddam might be waiting to attack after the invasion and be putting people out who are former loyalists to kind of rise up and start an insurgency. It literally is repeated in the book and it's chilling to read it because it's exactly what happened.
KING: We'll take a break. When we come back, we'll include some phone calls, get to some e-mails. The book "State of Denial," the author Bob Woodward, don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to (INAUDIBLE) and defending the world from grave danger.
So, we must recognize Iraq as a central front in the war on terror.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Bob Woodward. Your portraits evolve about Rumsfeld who you interviewed for the book. In "Bush at War" you described Rumsfeld as "handsome, intense, well educated with an intellectual bent," in "State of Denial" Rumsfeld is "arrogant, control freak, who is micromanaging is almost comic." Is that all the same guy?
WOODWARD: Indeed, it is. And of course in "Bush at War" you show him -- I mean, I show him in that book getting quite angry and arrogant and all of those characteristic which appear in this book.
KING: He's all of the above?
WOODWARD: Well, yes. He can be very charming and witty. He's a smart man. He's a smart man. You know him. You've had him on this show. When he turn on the -- press the charm button, no one's better.
KING: He's fun to be around.
Steven Hadley, the national security adviser, did he grade them?
WOODWARD: Yes. I mean this, again, well, what -- this isn't Teddy Kennedy's view. Steve Hadley, national security adviser, beginning of 2005. Now, he had been the deputy national security adviser to Condi Rice.
Sad when you look back on the first Bush term B- on policy formulation. On policy execution, carrying out things, doing things, a D-. Now, that's an insider saying in a moment of deep but truthful introspection, hey look, we get a D-.
KING: Why did they keep him?
WOODWARD: Well, his commitment was to try to make it better.
KING: We go to some e-mails. We'll include some phone calls, too. First e-mail from Kenneth in Odenton, Maryland. Question: "do you feel as if President Bush was manipulated into the Iraq war by Cheney and Rumsfeld and now has his cowboy gunslinger instinct that won't allow him to realize he's gotten in way over his head?"
WOODWARD: No. As I attempted to show and I think I did in "Plan of Attack," it was Bush's decision. Clearly, Cheney was as forceful steam rolling advocate for war. In fact, I asked the president and Rumsfeld both and they agreed, Bush never asked Rumsfeld for his recommendation about whether he should go to war or Iraq.
WOODWARD: Never did.
KING: Colin Powell, new biography out about him, says that despite previous claims there was a mutual decision, Powell was forced out as Secretary of State. Is that book correct?
WOODWARD: That book is by Karen D. Young. I have not yet read it. I'm sure it's terrific. She spent years looking at Powell. I have some of that in "State of Denial" also.
KING: That he was forced out?
WOODWARD: Andy Card went to Colin Powell and said the president is going to make a change.
KING: E-mail question from Dave in Phoenix, "some say the publication date of your book was designed to create a firestorm close to the elections. Was any thought given to that scenario by you or Simon and Shuster?"
WOODWARD: It's an excellent question. This was published when it was done, as soon as it was done.
In fact, I think we finished the book about six weeks ago or two months ago. It is a miracle what Simon & Shuster did to produce this book.
My personal feeling was that I had spent the last five years on this. I talked to these people. I had done two books. I needed to get information out as soon as possible.
The initial publication date was going to be the end of October. I strongly pushed and Simon & Schuster agreed that we had to move it up so it didn't come right in the days or weeks before the election.
KING: This one is from May in Baily City, California. "Why did you not reveal what's in your latest book before the last presidential election?"
WOODWARD: Because most of it hadn't happened.
KING: But you had a lot of information, didn't you? WOODWARD: Believe me, I revealed everything I knew in "Plan of Attack," which was 2004. The decision to go to war, nothing was held back. I learned some new things about that period which are in that book.
But much of this book is about 2005 and 2006. And those hadn't occurred. So, in a sense, if I may say this, something you were saying kind of this was a 180 on Bush. It's not a 180 on Bush.
I'm reporting -- crude analogy, you write about three baseball games and in one game the manager does a great job and wins -- the initial response to 9/11. So you covered that as it occurred and as the facts reveal.
Second, it's mixed, and maybe it's a tied ball game.
And then in the third game it's 18-0. Now, how do you write that story? You can't write that story what you covered in the first ball game. So the chronology gets -- you don't see the point?
KING: Oh, I see it. When you were doing Watergate, covering Watergate, that wasn't a book. You were writing daily stories.
WOODWARD: That's right.
KING: Great reporting. And then it became a book and of course, a movie.
Now, when you're doing a book, are there days when you would say, I would love to write this for tomorrow's editions?
WOODWARD: You -- the reporter's juices get going. But the process here and the reason this book is so comprehensive and has all of the angles and it tells you what went on in the White House, the CIA, the State Department, the Pentagon is you get information from one and then you check and you double check and then you go back. And so there is is a complete portrait here.
I, in a discussion before the book came out after Leonard Downey, who is the editor of the Washington Post when he read it and we had a discussion about it and I said and believe, this is as close as you get to describing what really happened in a contemporary situation, that you can't get closer to find out that the White House chief of staff is talking to the First Lady about, you know, what should we do with Rumsfeld.
KING: She denies that by the way.
WOODWARD: Well, Andy Card is on record now saying that it happened.
KING: Didn't you want to print that the next day?
WOODWARD: No no.
KING: No? WOODWARD: No. Because that's half a page in the book. It's part of the story. And it's quite possible to tell -- you know, it's complete. Somebody who reads it is going to get, you know, may like it or not like it but you're going to get a full dose of Bush in this war. You can't do that for a newspaper.
KING: Did you expect this onslaught from the White House?
WOODWARD: It's not on on -- I mean....
KING: I'd call it an onslaught.
KING: Sent out people the whole weekend.
WOODWARD: Yeah. But look, and they say -- one of the things Dan Bartlett said, is he thinks I don't connect the dots. All this book does is connect the dots. It goes from one dot to the next to the next to the next. And they're connected.
They -- there is this kind of -- and I guess it has to be called a nondenial denial. They will set something up and then say Woodward claims and say this isn't true. But I never claimed it. Sometimes people have overstated things in the press coverage. And so then they take that and say that's not true but it's not in the book.
KING: Can you really be totally objective?
WOODWARD: You can try.
KING: It's hard?
WOODWARD: Well, but remember, this is not a -- this is a book about the people who made these decisions. As I say, the sources, these aren't people on Capitol Hill. These aren't people who are Democrats, people -- these are insiders.
These are -- I mean, Andy Card, let's look -- can I be real specific? Has said publicly he talked to me. And he talked to me a lot. In fact, he said openly that everything in the book, every fact is correct.
Do you know how many times I talked to Andy Card? Five times, total of seven hours, transcripts of those interviews, 207 pages -- seven hours. If you were to interview Andy Card on this show seven hours would be about two weeks of LARRY KING LIVE. Do you realize that?
KING: Because it's 42 minutes.
WOODWARD: Can you imagine having the White House chief of staff here to say for two weeks why did this happen, what happened here, why did this go on, and so forth?
Now that's only one example -- he's somebody who has come forward and said, yeah, I talked.
KING: If I had two weeks, I would have asked him a little about General Motors.
We'll be right back with Bob Woodward. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: These are challenging times and they're difficult times. And they're straining the psyche of our country. I understand that.
This war will be difficult. This war will be long. And this war will end in the defeat of the terrorists of totalitarians and a victory for the cause of freedom and liberty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Bob Woodward. The book "State of Denial." Tell us about Rumsfeld talking about Mission Accomplished banner on the ship.
WOODWARD: This is May 1st, 2003, the very famous speech the president gave on the aircraft carrier, the Kennedy. You know there was that sign, Mission Accomplished. And I asked Rumsfeld about it and said he was -- Rumsfeld was in Baghdad and they sent him an advanced copy of the speech. And he said, I almost died because mission accomplished was in the speech. And he said, I got it out of the speech but I didn't get the sign down. Now they've always put out the story that it was the Navy that put up the sign. And there's the secretary of defense saying it was in the speech.
KING: What's the situation between Rumsfeld and Condi?
WOODWARD: Look, they work but, you know, there's tension. I mean, any reporter who's covered the Pentagon or the State Department knows there's a back and forth that sometimes gets heated.
KING: Tell us about that conversation between Congressman Murtha and General Abizaid.
WOODWARD: Yes, now General Abizaid, he's the combatant commander for the region. He's the one who has the responsibility, knows the most, is a supporter of the war, needless to say. But this year he went to see John Murtha. Now, John Murtha is the Democrat from Pennsylvania --
KING: War hero.
WOODWARD: War hero. Kind of the soul and conscience of the military in a very real way. And it came out last year saying we have to get out as soon as practical. And John Murtha was in his office and Bill Murphy and I went to interview him. And he said, Abizaid had been in here earlier and came in and sat down and said, I'm going to speak candidly and he took his fingers like that, quarter of an inch apart and said, Congressman, we're that far apart.
KING: Let's take a call. Cleveland, Ohio, for Bob Woodward. Hello. I'm sorry, Cleveland, Tennessee. Hello.
CALLER: Mr. Woodward, if you had knowledge of the charts that showed an increased level of violence in Iraq, and you were a reporter for the "Washington Post" wasn't that information important enough to be published in the Post and not wait until it was put in the book?
WOODWARD: Exactly, but if you look at that chart, it deals with the period May 2003 to May 2006. In other words, I only got that chart a couple of months ago. And I was really surprised at the level of violence going back in 2003, 2004. But I did not know that until a couple of months ago.
KING: Anderson Cooper is in Africa. John Roberts will be the host of "AC 360" throughout the week, with reports from Anderson. John, what's up tonight?
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Hey Larry, thanks very much. Tonight, the fallout from the scandal on Capitol Hill that brought down Congressman Mark Foley. Who knew what and when did they know it? We're covering all the angles tonight, the legal and ethical issues and most importantly the political ones. What does the Republican party do now so close to the election?
Plus, we've got more on Bob Woodward's new book. We talked one- on-one with former White House chief of staff Andy Card. Does he have any problem with what Bob wrote.
Plus, Anderson comes us to live from Africa. An inside look at the horrors happening there. All that and more just ahead on "360." See you at the top of the hour, Larry.
KING: That's John Roberts doing Yeomen like work today. He's everywhere.
ROBERTS: Hey, you know what happens, though?
ROBERTS: That Star Trek episode when Kirk and McCoy and Yeomen Swanson would go down to the planet, who wouldn't come back? The Yeomen, so.
KING: OK, Yeomen. John Roberts at the top of the hour. That's 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. Back with Bob Woodward after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: This will not be a campaign of half measures and we will accept no outcome but victory.
Major combat operation in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq the United States and our allies have prevailed.
The decision I made was the right decision. America is safer and the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. We have an email question from Gary in Brookfield, Wisconsin. "Do the revelation in this new book cause you to reconsider what you wrote in your previous two books about Bush?"
WOODWARD: No, because that's what happened. We've gone through that.
KING: You don't change any opinions?
WOODWARD: No, I don't. And I -- you know, I would add some of the things that I've learned for this book in the other books. But those are also reported -- carefully reported, as people know.
KING: Are you in this book more than others? For example, on page 473, you describe yourself as "speechless" when Don Rumsfeld compares the insurgent attacks to a fruit bowl.
WOODWARD: Well, I was. And he made that comparison. He said these attacks are like a fruit bowl, a banana, an orange or an apple. I did not understand how the secretary of defense could make that comparison. I mean, those are the -- those are the attacks that are killing our people. And I was speechless. And I just wondered, should I not share that thought.
KING: And you did.
WOODWARD: I did. I did.
I wanted to correct something, by the way. Bill Murphy rightly came and said I misspoke when I said the mission accomplished speech was on the Kennedy. It was on the aircraft carrier, the Abraham Lincoln. Got my presidents wrong. Sorry.
KING: E-mail question. Last e-mail from Jack in Westford, Massachusetts. "What's your current view on how the war in Iraq will end as far as U.S. troops are concerned?" When do you think this -- when will they start coming home?
WOODWARD: I don't know. I quote Rumsfeld saying that insurgencies last eight to 10 years. Who knows.
KING: Well, then this war is going to be going on when the next president is elected.
WOODWARD: Well, George Bush has said that, yes. You know, unless there's a change.
Now, my sister, Ann, I talked to her after one of these interviews. I said -- and she said she had watched one with some friends. And she said, but their question was, where does this go? What should we do? What should happen? And I said -- and I gave my answer that I don't know, obviously. And it's not my job.
My sense from doing some reporting is that President Bush is going to have to call in the Democrats at some point and sit down with them in a way that -- and not it just be a one-hour meeting. It's got to be one of these Clinton all night at that time dorm meetings, and say, this war and the direction of the country's at stake. We need a bipartisan agreement on where we're going. Never get everyone to sign up, but I want to hear what you think and hash it out, and come up with some plan or something that will take this out of the political arena. This country was successful in the Cold War, why? Because it was bipartisan.
KING: Would he do that after the congressional...
WOODWARD: I don't know. I'm just saying there are soundings going around that...
KING: It might happen?
WOODWARD: ... that could happen. That you -- it has reached a point where it's so political, where the level of violence is so great, we have so many more troops -- there's Tom Ricks, the "Washington Post" Pentagon reporter has pointed out, the strategy is, we'll stand down when they stand up, meaning when the Iraqi forces, the military and the police, we now have 300,000 of them, are well trained and well equipped -- well, we'll get out.
Well, they've stood up and we've stood up. We've increased.
KING: A thing like that would have to happen after the elections, though.
WOODWARD: Yes, in a practical sense. But look, this has got to get out of the political realm and countries in -- we are in what whoever the president was who talked about deep doo-doo.
KING: Who said that? I think it was George Bush the first.
WOODWARD: Yes, it was.
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments. Don't go away.
KING: One of our key staff members wants to know if you think we can trust George Bush.
WOODWARD: You know, that's a good, interesting question, but I -- I don't address it, and I think it would -- it's not my job. I can deal with the facts, and when the facts, as they do in this book, mount up to there are things happening that we're not being told...
KING: You're saying it's up to the reader?
WOODWARD: Of course it is. Of course it is.
KING: Cheney and weapons of mass destruction. He was the last one to think they weren't there, right? He called David Kay, what, in the middle of night?
WOODWARD: Yes, that's right. And said check this communication intercept.
KING: Was he the last?
WOODWARD: Well, I don't know. I mean, he -- he was a believer. It's very interesting, if we have a moment, in the book that General "Spider" Marks who I think does some work...
KING: Been on this show a lot.
WOODWARD: ... for CNN was the intelligence guy on the ground in Kuwait going into Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction. And my assistant, Bill Murphy, got his war diary. And you see that Marks, five months before the war, had doubts that there was WMD there.
He looked at the intelligence. He looked at the -- what was called the master site list and told them, senior generals, I can't promise you that there's WMD any place.
Now, this is October 2002. At the same time, Don Rumsfeld is writing one of his memos, one of his -- and he writes smart memos. Secret memo, October 15th, listing 29 things that might go wrong in the war. Item number 13 is, we may not find WMD on the ground. So you have the guy at the top having some doubt, the guy on the ground, and bad luck, mismanagement, they never got together. If they had, they might have said, hey, let's check this again.
KING: What are you working on next?
WOODWARD: No idea. No idea.
KING: There's always a book.
WOODWARD: Always a book.
KING: Thanks, Bob.
KING: Bob Woodward, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, assistant managing editor of "The Washington Post," and he will be one of our specialists on election night. It's good to have him with us. He always adds such great insight.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com