Study Guide

All the President's Men Cunning and Cleverness

Cunning and Cleverness

WOODWARD The burglars have their own counsel? […] That's kind of unusual, wouldn't you say?

Woodward quickly finds strange holes in the story and pokes his way into them, expanding on them until the whole thing falls apart.

WOODWARD: I never asked about Watergate. I simply asked what were Hunt's duties at the White House. They volunteered he was innocent when nobody asked if he was guilty.

Woodward knows that what people say is important, but it can be even more important when they say it.

SIMONS: Be careful how you write it.

Continuing from the previous quote, the editors at the Post also know that how something is said can be the most important thing of all, especially for the media, which has to tread a fine line between reporting the news and attacking the president of the United States.

BERNSTEIN: I can just ask you initials…and then that way you're not divulging any information.

Bernstein is very tricky with his interview tactics. He knows that the Nixon administration has put a lot of restrictions on what it's people can say. Bernstein has to find a way around it.

BERNSTEIN: Sloan wanted to tell the Grand Jury. […]

WOODWARD: Nobody asked him.

Okay, the government has clever moments of its own. They want to believe that if they never bring up a problem, no one will find out about it. And they're very clever when Sloan goes before the Grand Jury, making sure not to even mention the people who are actually responsible for the break-in. If they don't mention the Haldeman-shaped elephant in the room, maybe it'll go away. (It won't.)

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