Bob Woodward admits to starting a rumor during the Q&A Cafe

Photo by Arianne Buescher
Bob Woodward answers questions from the Georgetown Dish
Bob Woodward answers questions from the Georgetown Dish
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Bob Woodward joined "Q&A Cafe " host Carol Joynt on Friday at the Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown where he admitted to starting a rumor buzzing around Washington about the 2012 elections.  He also discussed the "scary" aspects of the wars in the Middle East and signed copies of his new best-seller Obama's Wars.
Q&A Cafe guests (Photo by: Arianne Buescher ) Q&A Cafe guests

As the audience ate their golden sea bass lying on top of seasoned fall vegetables, Woodward said, "The public presentation of what's going on is very different from what really goes on in private."

For example, in the past month talk of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton taking Vice President Joseph Biden's job in the 2012 election has been floating around Washington.

Joynt said,  "You made light of it, this notion of Biden and Hilary switching."

Woodward replied, "I didn't make light of it. I kind of started the rumor," which prompted the crowd of about 50 people to laugh.  

Hillary attracted certain groups during the Democratic primary in 2008, Woodward explained, that President Barack Obama may need in 2012.

Woodward said, "It's called saving your own ass."
Sarah Gorman is amused by the interview questions (Photo by: Arianne Buescher ) Sarah Gorman is amused by the interview questions

Woodward's inside scoop brought Sarah Gorman, a Georgetown resident, to the "Q&A Cafe" because, she said, Woodward is an "excellent investigative reporter," who "does a lot of homework."

Even Joynt, who has interviewed Woodward before and appeared completely composed during the "Q&A Cafe," said she was jittery before interviewing the investigative icon. But she told The Georgetown Dish that talking with Woodward, who has heaps of experience with interviews, is like "driving a car that doesn't need a driver."

Investigative reporting for Woodward seems to be a turtle-and-the-hare race. Woodward said, "Impatience and speed drive everything in the media now, you know, and I'm old school, total patience." Writing Obama's Wars  took the reporter 18 months.

Getting inside information about the country's war strategies takes more than time. Woodward has sources that most reporters could only dream of reaching.

He spoke with former President George W. Bush for 11 hours for his previous book and interviewed Obama for his latest book.  Woodward said that  the former president and the current president react differently during interviews: Bush "jumps in his chair," at times, while Obama is "cool" throughout the process.  

Woodward said a key ingredient in his success is relying on the egos of government employees.

"What's the common feature everyone has in Washington government? They take themselves seriously, sometime
Carol Joynt preps for the interview (Photo by: Arianne Buescher) Carol Joynt preps for the interview
s too seriously," said Woodward.

Joynt responded, "and drive badly." The audience laughed, and some nodded their heads.

"That taking themselves seriously is something a reporter can sincerely tap into," said Woodward.

Obama's Wars is the only one of Woodward's 16 nonfiction books that Marcia MacArthur, from McLean, Va., has read. While standing in line before the event, she said, "I thought the book was brilliant. I really enjoyed it."

At the end of the discussion, the crowd left mostly empty plates filled with Halloween Georgetown cupcake wrappers. Some made their way to a table in front where Woodward sat with a pen in hand.

MacArthur bought a second copy of Obama's Wars -- she forgot her copy at home -- because she wanted to have Woodward's autograph.
Marcia Macarthur gets her new book signed (Photo by: Arianne Buescher) Marcia Macarthur gets her new book signed
The event was "very interesting," she said. She added, "I thought she (Carol Joynt) interrupted a little bit too much."

MacArthur said the discussion was "appropriate for Halloween. It's scary." According to The New York Times, the book "depicts an administration deeply torn over the war in Afghanistan even as the president agreed to triple troop levels there amid suspicion that he was being boxed in by the military."

Woodward's book may have an international focus, but the journalist's home base is Georgetown. He told the Dish, "I love it. (I've) lived here since 1976." He's not giving away what his next book will be, but he will most likely take the advice he offers to other journalists, which is to "keep plugging away."

Bob Woodward considers his response (Photo by: Arianne Buescher ) Bob Woodward considers his response

pre-interview adjustments (Photo by: Arianne Buescher) pre-interview adjustments