Don’t assume you can just drop in on the “Remembering Watergate” panel discussion Monday night at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, Calif. Every seat in the house has been booked for the first-ever visit there by our colleagues Ben Bradlee and Bob Woodward.
Woodward — who, with Carl Bernstein, broke the Watergate story for this paper — was banned from the library when it first opened under the auspices of the 37th president’s partisans in 1990. Now controlled by the National Archives, the library has a new director, Tim Naftali, who replaced what he’s called a “whitewashed” Watergate exhibit with a new one that’s been praised by scholars for fairness (though the private Nixon Foundation complains it lacks context) and invited Nixon’s erstwhile media antagonists to appear.
Woodward told us he assumes the now-lifted ban applied only to official appearances. Did he ever consider visiting on his own, like a tourist? “I really hadn’t. I think it’s something you want to be invited to.” He plans to spend the day after his talk visiting the exhibit and listening to some of the archived tapes, just “wallowing in Watergate.”