The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd appeared on NPR’s comedy quiz show “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” this weekend. An excerpt:
MR. SAGAL: I went back and I reread those Pulitzer Prize winning columns back from ’98 and ’99. You, among other things, were really seemingly angry at Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton at that time, for what you felt that they had done and what they were trying to get away with. Do you ever look back at those columns and see if they hold up by your own lights?
MS. DOWD: No, I try to save emotions like anger for boyfriends. (Laughter.) No, I don’t – I think of, you know, when I critique politicians for abuse of power or whatever it’s more â€“ I do it in a more reasoned way.
MR. SAGAL: You do say – you have said, and probably will continue to say, some pretty harsh things about the politicians you write about, their personality flaws. Does this ever cause you a problem? Have you ever offended somebody so much that it became a problem in your future relationship with them?
MS. DOWD: Well, there was that time when Monica Lewinsky kind of confronted me in this Washington, this Indian restaurant that’s next door to the New York Times. And you know, the piano player was playing “Send in the Clowns” – and suddenly I saw her bearing down on me.
MR. SAGAL: No, you are making that up.
MS. DOWD: It was terrifying and I realized there was no way I could take her. She was a very tall, imposing girl. And she came up and said, you know, why are writing about me. I didn’t know how to explain she was in the middle of –
MR. PJ O’ROURKE: Okay, let’s start at the beginning. This is going to take a while to explain.
MR. SAGAL: Well, did you talk to her? Did you explain yourself? Did you –
MS. DOWD: Well, no, it was like the Cowardly Lion. Like, I’m tough in print but in my whole career I thought maybe somebody would come up and throw a drink at me, like in “Appointment in Samara.” But she didn’t throw a drink at me, she just – I said to her that actually I was trying to defend her because it was actually the Clintons who were trying to demonize her as the troubled girl who was stalking the president. And that hadn’t seemed to occur to her, so –
MR. SAGAL: Well, a lot of things didn’t occur to her, I think.
MS. DOWD: Exactly.