SAWYER: You dedicate it to those who serve. At the end of the day, what do you say to them about how flawed, how good, how capable their leaders are and are not?
WOODWARD: They're going to -- they're going to have to judge for themselves, but the -- the question you have to ask -- and I asked some of the major players in all of this -- what do we owe those people who serve? They're out there. We're not. What do we owe them? And one of them just said, "Everything."
And I just asked, how are we doing? Are we giving them everything? No. And that's part of the dilemma in this, and this is why I pick war. And it's different. It's defining. It's at the center of the being of whoever is president. It is at the center of the being of this country. And how we do -- tell me, how we do in this war in 10 or 20 years and I'll tell you a lot about America's place in the world.
SAWYER: And are we not giving them everything because we can't, because we are too distractible? Why?
WOODWARD: A lot of things seem petty, don't they, when you look at what has happened and what -- the sacrifices people make. I don't have the answer to that. But what I think you -- you know, we have a limited role, journalists and book authors, and that is, peer inside. And if you don't -- if you get caught up in, you know, the daily gossip and the daily stuff they talk about on television too much and on blogs and so forth, you're peering in the wrong direction.
And the inside of what this country is and who President Obama is and who this administration is, as close as you're going to get is to how they wrestled with really life-and-death decisions. Obama went out to Dover to see the returning caskets and cases and so forth. And people -- you know, what's he doing that for? What's going -- he told an aide, he said, I want to see how the families react and deal with this. And he spent the time not looking at caskets. He spent the time talking to the families, listening to them.
So he's engaged in the consequence with those families. And I that's not an easy trip to make, I'm sure, when you know it's right -- you know, that casket's there somewhat because of the decision that's on your shoulders.
SAWYER: At the end of the day, what's his biggest flaw and what's his biggest strength, as you learned it
WOODWARD: You know, I -- boy, I'm ducking, because he -- you know, in a way, they opened up, not willingly, but a lot of people responded. I got a lot of information. There's that -- I think in almost every one in government, there's that secret part of them that wants to -- yes, this is what it's really like. This is what's going on.
And somebody with the time can go around and pull on that string, and so in many cases, there was a dump of lots of data. And so, you know, I'm going to let others judge.
SAWYER: Can we play the tape?
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OBAMA: I said very early on as a senator and continued to believe as a presidential candidate and now as president that we can -- we can absorb a terrorist attack. We do -- we'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11 -- even a -- the -- the biggest attack ever, that ever took place on our soil, we absorbed it and we are stronger. That this is a strong, powerful country that we live in, and our people are incredibly resilient.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SAWYER: Did he say it before?