Reagan Biographer Refutes Woodward's Claim Obama's Too Busy to be Effective: Reagan Was Just as Busy
Bob Woodward on Sunday tried to excuse Barack Obama's ineffectiveness by claiming his "day is crazy" with "so many meetings, so many outings, so many handshakes, and so many trips to Ohio and here."
Having previously scolded "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer for asking a "bulls--t question," Ronald Reagan biographer Edmund Morris countered, "Yeah, but presidents have plenty of spare time" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST: Bob Woodward, let me ask you this. What happened to Barack Obama after the campaign? It was one of the most effective campaigns I've ever seen, and somehow after that it seems like he can't catch a break, whether it's his fault or not. Somehow he seems to have lost his groove.
Readers are reminded that Schieffer made basically this same point two weeks when he told his viewers, "For this President when it rains it just seems to pour. And keep on pouring."
But I digress:
BOB WOODWARD: That's true. And I think it's this ambivalence that he has. He understands things, there is, intellectually, but there is not that slogan from the campaign, Yes We Can. There is all, he seems to be holding back. I mean you're talking about silence and the power of silence. In the CIA, they often talk about let the silence suck out the truth. And you know as a journalist if you just sit there sometimes and let there become silence, people will fill it up with answers and many ways you get some of your best answers in that silence. I think Obama, there is an uncertain compass in him that he is communicating to people and the political opposition is taking advantage of it, and the general populous senses it. And so he's going to have to come out and, he has to come out with a clear program in statements on all the pressing issues that are on his plate which are many.
EDMUND MORRIS, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING BIOGRAPHER: Also, he's not writing his own speeches anymore which I think he did in the campaign. And he doesn't sound like Barack Obama anymore. Whereas when he was campaigning he sounded really authentic, passionate and extremely articulate.
WOODWARD: I think he gets involved in the speeches but if you look at his day, the day is crazy. And there, there are so many meetings. There are so many outings. There are so many handshakes. There are so many trips to Ohio and here, you know. As Roosevelt you always point out would read a book or two a day, right?
MORRIS: Yeah, but presidents, presidents have plenty of spare time. They waste a lot of time grouping and grinning. But I know from even when I was in the White House with Ronald Reagan he said to me, “You know I meet 80 new people every day,” but he still had plenty of time to write his letters by hand and to compose some of his strongest speeches.
Morris should know, for he spent fourteen years as Reagan's official biographer eventually publishing the national bestseller "Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan" in 1999.
As such, I guess you can say Morris called BS on two liberal media members Sunday.
Maybe they should give him another Pulitzer Prize.