Journalist Bob Woodward to Discuss New Book The Last of the President’s Men on Dec. 4 at UC San Diego

Posted On: November 19, 2015

Sold-out event to feature Woodward and Nixon Aide Alexander Butterfield discussing new Watergate revelations and the scandal’s lasting impact on presidential politics.


Award-winning journalist and author Bob Woodward will visit the University of California, San Diego on Friday, December 4, 2015 for a lively conversation with Alexander Butterfield, a former aide to President Nixon and the subject of Woodward’s newest book The Last of the President’s Men. The book, which Simon & Schuster released this October, offers up new revelations and insights into Nixon’s psyche and the inner workings of his White House.

The UC San Diego Library and Helen Edison Lecture Series are sponsoring the sold-out event, which starts at 7:00 p.m. in the Price Center East Ballroom on the UC San Diego campus. A book signing for members of the audience will take place in the adjacent Muir Room following the program.

The conversation between Woodward and Butterfield, a long-time La Jolla resident who served as an aide to Nixon from 1969 to 1973, will focus on Watergate and how the political scandal continues to loom over and shape presidential politics.

Brian E. C. Schottlaender, The Audrey Geisel University Librarian, said the book and the discussion are particularly relevant as the 2016 presidential race heats up and voters consider the personal character of the candidates.

“We are pleased that the Library and the Helen Edison Lecture Series were able to partner on bringing one of the nation’s most iconic journalists—Bob Woodward—to the campus,” said Schottlaender. “We are especially thankful to our friend, Alex Butterfield, for his assistance in making this happen, and for his willingness to participate. With the presidential election less than a year away, Alex’s recollections remind us that in electing our next chief executive, we should never forget the importance of moral character.”

Dan Atkinson, director of the UC San Diego Extension’s Public Program who oversees the Helen Edison Lecture Series, said the discussion between Woodward and Butterfield delivers on Extension’s mission to connect and engage with community.

“The Helen Edison Lecture Series has long hosted free public talks by leading figures in a wide variety of disciplines to help elevate and shape our civic dialogue,” Atkinson said. “Over the years, we have had the privilege to present many leading national journalists, and Woodward certainly fits this tradition. The Butterfield story also has a local and regional dimension, given Alex’s longtime residence here in San Diego and President Nixon’s roots in Southern California.”

Historian Michael Bernstein, provost at Tulane University, will moderate the discussion between Woodward and Butterfield. Bernstein previously served as dean of Arts and Humanities and professor of History at UC San Diego, during which time he advised Butterfield on his master’s degree thesis at the university.

The Last of the President’s Men is the result of some 46 hours of interviews Woodward conducted with Butterfield, who provided substantial documentation for the book. In the book, Butterfield, now 89, describes the deep ambivalence he had about divulging the White House taping system, Nixon’s private views and frustrations over the Vietnam War, and offers up many recollections—both humorous and sad—that shed light on President Nixon’s various neuroses, including his surprisingly deep resentments and vengefulness, as well as his impressive discipline, energy and intelligence.

Woodward, a reporter for The Washington Post since 1972, was a young cub reporter when he teamed up with the more experienced Carl Bernstein to cover the Watergate break-in. The two of them did most of the original news reporting on the Watergate scandal that led to numerous government investigations and ultimately to the resignation of President Nixon.

A national, best-selling author, Woodward has authored or coauthored 18 non-fiction books on a broad spectrum of political subjects and issues, ranging from the Iraq War and the Supreme Court to the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. His first book, on Watergate, All the President’s Men, was a national best-seller and was published before President Nixon resigned in 1974.

Please Note: This event is sold out. Non-ticketholders may queue up in a separate line at the door on the night of the event. At 7:00pm we will fill any unoccupied seats on a first-come, first-served basis.

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