By: E&P Staff
Appearing with Larry King on his CNN show Monday night, Bob Woodward repeated much of what has already come out from his new book ?State of Denial,? but also added new information and commentary.
Highlighting why he feels so strongly about the book, he said the alternate title for it was, ?Crisis.? He explained: ?This is a big war. Henry Kissinger said this is more important that Vietnam.? Woodward said of the war: ?It?s going south.?
He also revealed that Donald Rumsfeld had told him that he had seen a copy of the speech Bush was to deliver on the aircraft carrier in May 2003 ?with the Mission Accomplished banner behind him ? and that the speech originally contained ?mission accomplished? in the text. Rumsfeld said he got that deleted but the banner stayed. This shoots down, Woodward suggested, the claim that the Navy independently put up the banner.
Asked about the timing of the book so close to the election, Woodward revealed that the publication date for the book was originally late-October ? but he pushed Simon & Schuster to get it out so it wasn?t quite so close to the voting: ?It?s a miracle what Simon & Schuster did to get it out as soon as possible.? Earlier today on TV, Woodward had said that he always intended to get it published before the election, feeling that people should have the information before then, and then make up their own minds.
Speaking in a more impassioned way than usual, Woodward, when asked what Bush should do about the war now, said, ?President Bush is going to have to call in the Democrats and not have a one-hour meeting but one of those Clinton all-night-in-the-dorm meetings?.and tell them we need a bipartisan plan that will take this out of the political arena.? Woodward said he had heard that, in fact, ?soundings? are being taken about this idea to follow the election. He then cited the famous expression of Bush?s father: We?re in ?deep doo-doo.?
Woodward said he talked to a CIA man who recently came back from Iraq who said, “It’s like Mad Max over there now.”
Asked by the host to compare his current reporting to Watergate, he replied, ?There are no crimes alleged here,? though some would take exception to that. He added: ?But this is a war?and the stakes could not be higher?It pains me to see the approach they decided on from the beginning was denial,? hoping ?maybe we?ll get a break.?
Asked if the administration should be charged with deviousness or incompetence, Woodward answered: ?Inattentiveness.? Was Bush manipulated into the war by Cheney and Rumsfeld? No, ?it was Bush?s decision, clearly.?