Texas Monthly Talks

Journalist and Writer
Carl Bernstein

Carl Bernstein


Notes from Evan Smith

"For a while there, after the Iowa cacuses, it looked like he bet on the wrong horse. Carl Bernstein’s 2007 biography of Hillary Clinton — sprawling and endless and more than a little admiring — was a good call by any measure, as his subject was bound to be interesting and relevant no matter what happened in 2008. But when Barack Obama briefly shocked the system by handily winning the first vote of the election cycle, A Woman In Charge seemed headed for remainder bin of history, following closely on the heels of Clinton’s once-inevitable candidacy. You could almost tell, from the rictus of anxiety on Bernstein’s face on his maiden night as a CNN election analyst, that he wished he’d spent all that time and all that energy on a book about the other guy. Oh, well. But this has been a strange political year to say the least, and while Clinton hasn’t been quite the Lazarus that, say, John McCain has, she’s certainly come back from the near-dead, and therefore so has Bernstein’s status as an expert in all matters related to the could-be next president of the United States. We should have figured that the 63-year-old would end up in the center of things, since that’s where he has always seemed to be since what remains the most famous period of his professional life: the several years that he and his colleague at the Washington Post, Bob Woodward, broke the story of the Watergate break-in, helped bring about the resignation of Richard Nixon, and, in a way that cannot be overstated or overhyped, literally changed history, along the way winning a much deserved Pulitzer Prize — maybe the most deserved Pulitzer Prize ever. In the intervening years, the Maryland native has co-written several books about Watergate with Woodward, most famously All The President’s Men, as well as a biography of Pope John Paul and a memoir, Loyalties, that revealed his parents’ membership in the Communist Party. And he has worked for media organizations from ABC News to Vanity Fair and Time magazines. But he is best known in the abstract, as one of the great reporters of all time, as opinionated and blustery and confident as you’ve been led to believe. And great fun to talk to, whatever the subject." - Evan Smith, Texas Monthly Talks, Broadcast 1.31.08