What a day it is for ABC’s Bob Woodruff.
His long-awaited interview with former John Edwards aide Andrew Young is set to air tonight on a special 20/20, and on Nightline.
It’s also Woodruff’s father’s birthday. Plus, Woodruff has a date this evening with his twin nine year-old girls at a father-daughter dance.
And it was on this day four years ago that Woodruff narrowly escaped death. “My ‘alive day’,” he tells TVNewser.
In 2006, the newly-minted World News Tonight co-anchor was reporting from Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded near him and cameraman Doug Vogt. Both suffered serious head injuries. Four years later, Woodruff is feeling good — “I’m lucky,” he says — and he’s right in the thick of things at work.
He has nabbed some of the biggest gets in the Edwards-Rielle Hunter saga, including an exclusive interview with the former Senator and presidential candidate in August of 2008. During that chat, Edwards lied about the possibility of fathering Hunter’s daughter, Quinn.
“I was pretty shocked” at the denial, Woodruff says. And so were Andrew Young — author of The Politician, out tomorrow — and his wife Cheri, who Woodruff says were “just irritated and furious” at what they heard. They chose Woodruff for their first interview.
Woodruff, who covered Edwards’ 2004 presidential run, finds it hard to believe he’s still covering this scandal, long after the now-infamous 2008 sit-down. “I didn’t think it would be such a big story a year and half later.”
But it is. So big that each network has scrambled for the scoop. Last week, with Woodruff’s Andrew Young interview looming, NBC got an exclusive of its own: a first look at the statement from Edwards admitting paternity.
Woodruff shrugs it off. “I love competition. Go for it, NBC!”
NBC’s news, Woodruff says, “is nothing” compared to what Young will tell viewers tonight, “revelations that you’ll hear from an aide who was witness to much of this incredible mess.”
The Edwards saga is “more tragic than any other affair story I’ve ever seen, or ever will.”
A major story of national interest: it’s where Woodruff likes to be. “I love journalism. What I’ve always loved is doing the actual work as a journalist. Being out on the street, being around the country, being where the news is actually happening.”
And that’s no small feat, considering Woodruff’s lengthy recovery after his brain injury. His progress is such that he has discontinued speech and physical therapy. “What I’m doing is reading and writing and having conversations like this with you,” he says.
“Most of my friends and family around me four years ago, would have never really thought that I would be able to do what I’m doing now. I’m very close to the way I was before.
“There’s no way that you return to exactly the way you were, but there are parts of you that are better,” he explains. Namely, having a greater appreciation of life.
“I like to watch every sunrise,” Woodruff continues. “I want to see my kids every day. I want to give my friends some hugs. I think the things that seemed irritating to me before, I can’t really be as irritated as I was before…You look at life a different way when you’ve had somewhat of a vision of what it might be like if you weren’t here.”