Ford Interview Was Last-Minute Add to ‘Wash Post’ Coverage — More from Woodward Coming Friday

By: Joe Strupp

Although Bob Woodward’s telling interview with former president Gerald Ford, disclosed in today’s Washington Post, was conducted more than two years ago, the story about the interview was not written until yesterday, according to Post editors.

Unlike the paper’s obituary of Ford and other supporting material that had been ready to go for several years, the Woodward piece was a last-minute article that the writer penned on Wednesday.

“It wasn’t in the can ready to go,” said Susan Glasser, assistant managing editor/national, who edited the story. “Bob wrote it yesterday and we printed it.”

Glasser added that the Post planned to publish another related Woodward piece on Friday, but offered little information about it. She said it also would include audio elements on the paper’s Web site, as today’s did, but not portions of the Ford interview. “It will include more interesting stuff,” she said. “But not from the interview, we put everything from the interview up this morning.”

Glasser, a longtime Post reporter, took over her current job just three weeks ago. Although she had been at the paper since 1998, she said she did not know about the Ford interview until yesterday. She also was unsure at what point Woodward had told executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. or others at the paper about the interview, which Woodward has said occurred in July 2004.

“It is quite possible he told Len about it before,” Glasser said. “We made our plans for what the [Ford death] package would be. Len spoke to Bob [on Wednesday] and decided we should do it right away.”

Downie, who is off today, was unavailable for comment. Woodward did not return calls seeking comment this morning.

Managing Editor Phil Bennett, who was not in his current position when the 2004 interview occurred, said he “was aware of it vaguely” when asked about the Woodward interview, but had no specific information on when Post editors formally learned about it.

In today’s story, Woodward wrote that he initially interviewed Ford for a possible book, but agreed to embargo the former president’s comments until after his death.

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