Ben Bradlee, long-time executive editor of The Washington Post, shared his recollections of his "good life" with a Club luncheon audience last week.
Bradlee, now retired and the author of his memoirs, "A Good Life," said that his first Post editor, Russell Wiggins, once gave him a bit of advice: Stay off the stage. "What a joke that has become," said the editor who made it to the screen, if not the stage, being portrayed by Jason Robards in the movie, "All the President's Men." "Nixon made it impossible to stay off the stage," he added, referring to the Watergate investigation which propelled him and Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward to national celebrity.
Bradlee also recalled, as a young reporter, riding the street car from his Georgetown home to the Post, when he heard the sound of gunfire. Jumping off the trolley to investigate, he found that Peurto Rican nationalists were trying to shoot their way into Blair House to assassinate President Truman. "I am the only person you know," he said, "who has crawled across Pennsylvania Avenue on his hands and knees, sober."
Bradlee was asked if he agreed with the Post's decision to print, at the request of the FBI, a long statement from the Unabomber. "We should have printed it," he said, "I don't consider it a close call."
National Press Club Record, Volume XLV, No. 42. November 16, 1995.