Hollywood on the Potomac
“Forty years after the greatest scandal of the American presidency, Elizabeth Drew’s account in Washington Journal remains fresh and riveting, instructive and evocative. Her afterword on Nixon’s post-Watergate life is equally compelling.” Tom Brokaw
“Originally published soon after Richard Nixon’s resignation, Elizabeth Drew’s Washington Journal is a landmark of political journalism. Keenly observed and hugely insightful, Washington Journal opens in 1973 and follows the deterioration of Nixon’s presidency as it happens.” Overlook Press
“I have a certain amount of empathy for the man,” Drew told Hollywood on the Potomac. He was trapped in his own personality and by that I mean he had grown up resentful. He was a kind of scrawny kid and not at all athletic but bookish and that was not the thing in Whittier, California, so he was a loner.”
“Pat Nixon, it’s interesting,” Elizabeth reminisced. “The theory was that they had a non, not much of a marriage. We know they slept in separate rooms. She didn’t talk much. She always kind of looked unhappy. She hated politics. But the evidence now is that they were a lot closer than we knew.”
To mark the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation, Hollywood on the Potomac looks back at it’s most interesting interviews with the principals starting with Jill Wine, prosecutor. During the Watergate proceedings she cross-examined President Richard Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods about the 18 ½ minute gap on the Watergate tapes.
We asked her to describe what that experience was like. “Well remember, at the time I was quite young and we were up against the White House. We were called the children’s march against the wicked king and so it was really kind of unusual and I would say a little bit scary to take on the President, but we were professional prosecutors and we were just looking for the truth,” she told us at the Washington screening of All The President’s Men Revisted. “I believe we found it. I don’t think without the tapes it would have been quite as persuasive a case as we had, but the tapes really made it completely clear about guilt.”
We asked her if she liked or disliked the President and how she felt about those testifying. “I don’t think a question of like or dislike was ever the question. At the time John Dean to me was almost a machine. He was someone that you asked a question and he gave you an answer. I have since in recent years been doing a lot of speaking about Watergate and John and I have been on panels together so I’ve come to know him as a person. It turns out that he actually lived in Evanston which is where I currently live in Illinois. It’s been interesting to get to know Steve Bull and Alex Butterfield and John Dean, and all those people as real people not as just a witness that you ask a question of.”
Woodward and Bernstein – the journalistic team who uncovered the Watergate scandal in the seventies – celebrated yet another anniversary. Just when you thought there was nothing more to say about the resignation of President Richard Milhous Nixon, The Washington Post hosted a panel discussion Wednesday night with a look at declassified White House tapes.
The event was hosted by reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward; Elizabeth Drew, author of “Washington Journal;” Ken Hughes, author of “Chasing Shadows;” and columnist Ruth Marcus as moderator. Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, provided the opening remarks. The occasion marked the 40th Anniversary of that resignation, the only one in the history of the Presidency.
Two years ago Hollywood on the Potomac attended a Watergate symposium on the anniversary of the break in …… in the very garage where Woodward held his clandestine meetings with Mark Felt a.k.a. ‘deep throat.’ It’s about to be demolished, although the new developers plan to place a commemorative marker on the site. At least there’s that.
The 2012 event opened with remarks by The Newshour’s Jim Lehrer:
“So here we are and the question is what was Watergate? What is it now? What will it be tomorrow and all the tomorrows still to come? At the beginning, it was in fact just a piece of real estate. And unless somebody demolishes it – and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen any time soon – it may always be the Watergate as a building.” In the end, Watergate will be just a piece of real estate.