In a time of political turmoil like today, it’s hard to imagine anyone having a more insightful perspective of a president on the proverbial hot seat than Bob Woodward.
Explore This IssueACEP17 Preview: Vol 36 – No 09a – September 2017
Mr. Woodward is, of course, the famed Washington Post reporter who, along with colleague Carl Bernstein, investigated and reported on the Watergate scandal and contributed greatly to the resignation of
President Richard Nixon in 1974. Since then, he has written 18 books—all national bestsellers—chronicling the presidency from President Nixon through President Barack Obama.
Mr. Woodward, who now serves as associate editor for The Washington Post, sees his keynote address at ACEP17—scheduled for 8 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 29—as a discussion of what he calls the “Age of the American Presidency.”
“The general movement is toward more power for presidents,” he said. “I think even [President] Trump, with the problems he’s having, has vast power to do things.”
Mr. Woodward knows his crowds are fascinated to hear about the gridlock of Washington, the tumult surrounding the sobriquet “fake news,” and any stories that shed light on President Trump.
“I find people in audiences are now deeply curious,” Mr. Woodward said. “Who is he? What’s inside? Where is all this going? What are the risks? … What is he really doing with the economy? What does he understand? What does he not understand? What is the role of the White House staff, his cabinet? I find people who like him or don’t like him pull up questions.
The key thing I want to do in a talk like this is to spend half or more time on the questions the audience has … What are they worried about? What’s going on in government that surprises them, worries them? —Bob Woodward
“To be clear, I make no pretense that I know all of those answers because I also think no one knows all of those answers. Trump may not know those answers,” he said.
Mr. Woodward knows people are coming to hear him, but he says he’s more interested in hearing from emergency physicians.
“The key thing I want to do in a talk like this is to spend half or more time on the questions the audience has,” he said. “It’s much more interesting to me, quite frankly, and hopefully more interesting to them. What’s on their minds? What are they worried about? What’s going on in government that surprises them, worries them? The question session in something like this is always—it’s the high point for me.”
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.