Woodward was 31. Bernstein, 30. Woodward was the linear thinker, step-by-step, few leaps, few assumptions, methodical. Bernstein, whose parents were blacklisted lefties, and who’d been in the newspaper business since he was a 16-year-old copy boy, was more instinctual. He knew Nixon was rotten, and knew first it might go straight up to the president.
Almost exactly one month later, on September 8, 1974, Bob Woodward picked up the phone and it was Bernstein yelling into his ear: “The son of a bitch PARDONED the son of a bitch!” Years later, though, both of them reconsidered their resentment of President Gerald Ford letting Nixon off the hook, saying it was better for the country that he did.
I grew up with Carl Bernstein as my hero, whose parents’ best friends were close to my parents, and who was a fellow red diaper baby, an older one. And a bicycle freak like I was. Before Watergate broke, Bernstein was planning a cross-country bicycle trip. He never got that trip; he muckraked the White House instead. When I was 20, I did bicycle across America – on a tricked out French Motobecane. I named it Carl Bernstein. It went 5,200 miles against headwinds and it knew Nixon was a crook too.
Nixon photo: Pierre Manevy/Express/Getty Images
Woodstein photo via Twitter