Woodward On LKL

From last night’s Larry King Live:

    KING: Bob Woodward, the story is going to break in the “Washington Post” tomorrow, but he has been kind enough to give us a little advance of it, you did a tape with Gerald Ford.

    When did you do it, Bob?

    BOB WOODWARD, “WASHINGTON POST”: Back in 2004, a four day — four hours at his place in Beaver Creek, Colorado. This was an embargoed interview, something that wasn’t to come out until I did a book on him or Ford died. And in these interviews, you see kind of his authenticity and his candidness.

    KING: Let’s…

    WOODWARD: He says some rather stinging things…

    KING: Yes…

    WOODWARD: … that people would not necessarily think or identify with Gerald Ford.

    KING: Let’s hear one portion…

    WOODWARD: Sure.

    KING: … which may surprise some people. I haven’t heard it, so let’s hear it together.

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    (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, JULY, 2004)

    FORD: I don’t think if I had been president on the basis of the facts as I saw them publicly, I don’t think I would have wanted the Iraqi war. I would have maximized our efforts through sanctions, through restrictions, whatever, to find another answer.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    KING: That was a little difficult to understand…

    WOODWARD: He had…

    KING: He was, in essence, saying what about Iraq?

    WOODWARD: Well, he said specifically — and this is in 2004 — that he wouldn’t have gone to war in Iraq if he had been president. He said, “I don’t think, if I had been president, on the basis of the facts as I saw them publicly, I don’t think I would have ordered the Iraq War. I would have maximized our effort through sanctions, through restrictions, whatever, to find another answer.”

    He made it very clear that he did not agree with the reasons that President Bush laid out for the war, namely the belief that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or that there was some obligation that the United States or the president had…

    KING: Tom…

    WOODWARD: … to expand democracy.

    KING: Tom DeFrank of the “New York Daily News,” who knew him very well, does that surprise you?

    THOMAS DEFRANK, “NEW YORK DAILY NEWS”: No, it doesn’t surprise me, Larry. And I can’t really scoop my newspaper, but some of what I just heard in Bob’s terrific interview there, our readers will probably see a little of that tomorrow.

    I’m not surprised at all about that.

    KING: Would you say, Tom, that Gerald Ford, a kind of conservative congressman, became a much more — for want of a better term — liberal Republican?

    DEFRANK: Well, liberal is putting it a little too strongly, Larry. But I think he was more in the — more toward the Rockefeller Republican mold.

    KING: Yes.

    DEFRANK: But he wasn’t quite — he was kind of — he was a centrist as opposed to a center right Republican.

    KING: We’ll take a break and be right back with more of Howard Baker, Al Haig, Bob Woodward and Tom DeFrank.

    Don’t go away.

    But first, we have a statement from former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, a joint statement: “Gerald Ford brought Americans together during a difficult chapter in our history with strength, integrity and humility. All Americans should be grateful for his life of service. He served our nation well. To his great credit, he was the same hard-working, down to earth person the day he left the White House as he was when he first entered Congress almost 30 years earlier.”

    Now we’ll be right back.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)