The secret life of Maureen Dowd
The New York Times columnist reveals her first great love, her family's Irish ties and her real take on Obama, Bush, Biden and Geffen
“Biden’s line about him is one that everybody uses about him, and it’s that he travels light, and it’s interesting because when you see him there’s no cloud around him, he’s not carrying a bunch of papers, everything is about traveling light.
“The BlackBerry was the one thing he actually kind of wanted. He has Reggie Love (his body man) who comes with the Nicorettes and cigarettes. On the campaign Reggie had cigarettes -- it was a big secret --, but I think that it’s hard to stop smoking and run for president at the same time. It’s too much.
“Yes, Obama travels light emotionally, physically. The way Gordon Brown was treated for instance. During his recent visit the British were upset, but Obama is not a sentimental person not like he’s giving that love to anyone else. Obama is very detached.
“But Americans know he is trying, trying very hard, and these are huge problems he is facing.”
As for Vice President Biden, Dowd is also a big fan.
“I love Joe Biden. I knocked him out of the race in ’88 when I reported that he plagiarized Neil Kinnock’s speeches.
“The fact that he ree-stablished a relationship with me, and before he was appointed, a friend and I had an off-the-record lunch with him, and you know, it’s an Irish thing, he was being all Irish.
“I was sitting thinking ‘If I were him I wouldn’t have me here,’ but I kind of admired his ability to move on.”
As for Obama’s predecessors Bush and Cheney, she says they “started out to be bullies to scare the world and be a hyperpower, and they accomplished that intention.”
She says the recent Oliver Stone movie about Bush got it right, that Bush did end up finally with some self-awareness that something deep had gone wrong. In his case she says his refusal to pardon Scooter Libby despite Dick Cheney’s frantic attempts to get him one was the clear signal.
As for Poppy Bush there is no doubt that Dowd and himself retain a soft spot for each other.
“George Bush Senior has written me twice in the last week because I sent him a Christmas present. He signs his ‘love’ but then crosses out the love and say ‘not yet’ indicating he’s mad about the coverage of W. I’m sure at some level they must be disappointed too.”
She says Bush senior “must be angry” with Cheney and Rumsfeld. She says it would be hard for him not to be. W’s whole presidency, she says, was an “attempt to be the reverse of everything Bush Senior stood for.
“I can’t believe he never called his dad for advice even when going to war in Iraq.”
Maureen expresses grudging admiration for Hillary Clinton, the woman she was hyper-critical of during the campaign. She quotes Harold Ickes, a key Clinton aide, as saying that Hillary told him during the campaign, “I knew that Bill was good at what he did and it was hard to be that good, but I had no idea just how hard it was.”
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