A reader's guide to Bob Woodward's State of Denial.

How to read juicy books.
Oct. 4 2006 11:59 PM

Woodward and You

A reader's guide to State of Denial.

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Woodward Victory Lap

Pages 303-04: Woodward says George Tenet initially disputed a scene in Woodward's book Bush at War where the CIA director told Bush it was a "slam dunk" that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Then, Woodward points out that a year after the book was published, Tenet was asked about that comment at a public forum. "Those are the two dumbest words I ever said," he said, apparently dropping his contention that he might never have uttered them. For Woodward it's a tale to be brandished against any of the administration officials who might doubt the accounts in this book: In a year they'll be admitting they are true.

Powell and Armitage Muse About Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld

Page 143: In the run-up to the Iraq war, Powell notes that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice have never seen combat. "You know," Powell says, "the problem with these guys is they've never been in a bar fight."

Pages 325-27: Powell and Armitage talk about the benefit of self-doubt. "If you didn't have it, Powell said, if you didn't get up in the morning wondering if you're doing a good enough job or if you can still hit the long ball you're not worth much." Armitage chimes in: "Not worth a shit."

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Pages 467: Rice seems to answer them many pages later in a discussion with a staffer. "I don't like extremists," she tells him, explaining, "[b]ecause on some of these issues I don't trust anybody that's that sure."

Election Night 2004

Pages 338-47: Woodward provides a tidy account of election-night intrigue in the Bush camp as they double over after seeing early exit polls that show Kerry ahead and then finally pull off a victory. During one of the tense moments, Bush says to political adviser Karl Rove: "If the popular vote made it, I wouldn't be here." At another point, Bush calls Ken Blackwell, the Ohio secretary of state who is now running for governor, "a nut."

Hit-By-the-Bus Book

Page 354: After Bush's re-election, Chief of Staff Andy Card presented the president with a spiral-ring binder full of suggestions for people who could replace all of his major administration posts. Card called the study his "hit-by-the-bus book."

Throw Rumsfeld From the Bus

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