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All The President’s Men – Washington Post Budget Meeting Scene

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NATIONAL EDITOR: –let me tell what happened when I was having lunch today at the Sans Souci–

ROSENFLED: –correction–when you were drinking your lunch at the bar of the Sans Souci–

NATIONAL EDITOR: –this White House guy, a good one, a pro, came up and asked what is this Watergate compulsion with you guys and I said, well, we think it’s important and he said, if it’s so goddamn important, who the hell are Woodward and Bernstein?

ROSENFELD: Ask him what he’s really saying– he means take the story away from Woodstein and give it to his people at the National Desk–

NATIONAL EDITOR: –well, I’ve got some pretty experienced fellas sitting around, wouldn’t you say so?

ROSENFELD: Absolutely.  And that’s all they do, sit sit sit – every once in a while, they call up a Senator, some reporting–

NATIONAL EDITOR: –well, what if your boys get it wrong?

BRADLEE: (after a beat) Then it’s our asses, isn’t it?

SIMONS: (indicates the meeting is over)  And we’ll all have to go to work for a living.

As the men rise and head for the door, the FOREIGN EDITOR moves toward BRADLEE and SIMONS who remain seated as before.

FOREIGN EDITOR: I don’t think either Metropolitan or National should cover the story.

Bradlee and Simons look at him.

FOREIGN EDITOR (CONT’D): I don’t think we should cover the story, period.


FOREIGN EDITOR: It’s not that we’re using unnamed sources that bothers me, or that everything we print the White House denies, or that almost no other papers are reprinting our stuff.

SIMONS: What then?

FOREIGN EDITOR: I don’t believe the goddamn story, Howard, it doesn’t make sense.

BRADLEE: It will, it just hasn’t bottomed out yet, give it time.

FOREIGN EDITOR: Ben, Jesus, there are over two thousand reporters in this town, are there five on Watergate?  Where did we suddenly get all this wisdom?

Bradlee and Simons say nothing.  They respect this guy.

FOREIGN EDITOR: Look – why would the Republicans do it?  My God, McGovern is self-destructing before our eyes — just like Muskie did, Humphrey, the bunch of ’em.  Why would the burglars have put the tape around the door instead of up and down unless they wanted to get caught?  Why did they take a walkie-talkie and then turn it off, unless they wanted to get caught?  Why would they use McCord–the only direct contact to the Republicans?

BRADLEE: You saying the Democrats bugged themselves?

FOREIGN EDITOR: The FBI thinks it’s possible–the Democrats need a campaign issue, corruption’s always a good one.  Get off the story, Ben — or put some people on McGovern’s finances; fair is fair, even if our business.

He leaves.

Jill Kennedy – OnMedea

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