Why Safire Is Loved

From this weekend’s “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me” on NPR:

    PETER SAGAL: Now, you went off, you left the Nixon White House. You became a conservative op-ed writer for the New York Times.

    WILLIAM SAFIRE: Right, I was the resident right winger there.

    SAGAL: Yes. And did they always make you sit by yourself at the company picnics, or did you, were you welcome?

    SAFIRE: It was a little lonely there for a while. But then I did go to a picnic, and one of the kids for one of the reporters fell in the pool. And my wife who was standing next to me pushed me into the pool fully clothed. And so I fished the kid out, and we both came out dripping. And all of the sudden I was a hero at the picnic, and —

    SAGAL: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You’re telling me, that you went to the New York Times, you were a member of the Nixon White House, you were a conservative, they didn’t trust you, and then you saved the life of a child in front of the collected staff so they had to accept you?

    SAFIRE: It was a big break.

    SAGAL: Yeah.

    ADAM FELBER: There are some who say that kid did not fall in the pool.

    SAGAL: I was about to say.

    FELBER: I looked at that film over and over and over.

    SAGAL: You see him go back and to the left, back and to the left.

    FELBER: I think there’s a third Safire at the picnic table.

    KYRIE O’CONNOR: G. Gordon Liddy pushed him in.

    SAGAL: That’s amazing. I had not heard that. That’s a great story.