TRANSCRIPT: Bob Woodward Talks to ABC's Diane Sawyer About 'Obama's Wars'


SAWYER: Ever before done…


SAWYER: -- to your knowledge...

WOODWARD: Not that I can tell...

SAWYER: -- in American history?

WOODWARD: And, of course, in the White House, what they're saying one of the big problems in Vietnam was the orders were vague. And so make them specific in this case. Now with...

SAWYER: He also -- excuse me. But he also says that he wants every person in that room committed, on the record...

WOODWARD: He calls…

SAWYER: -- At one point he even says in writing, right?

WOODWARD: Well, he didn't ask for signed documents. But he said, I want everyone to look me in the eye and tell me they'll go along with this. And he pushes them. When he calls Admiral Mullen in, he literally says to him, now, look, I don't want you saying something different in public. You can testify to what you want, but you've got to tell me if it's going to be different here. I don't want you saying something differently internally in your own organization.

So he gets everyone to go along, but going along is not conviction. And that is part of the dilemma here for Barack Obama. He designed this. If it turns out July of next year, nine months away, things are much better in Afghanistan, it seems to be working, he's going to be a geo-strategic genius.

If it doesn't work, you've got all kinds of people -- generals, Republicans, Democrats -- who are going to say wait a minute, like Leon Panetta, his CIA director, goes to people in the White House, tells other members of the cabinet, look, when the -- a Democratic president is asked for more troops by the military, he has no choice. He has to give them. We should decide this in a week. It turns out, he never told that to Obama.

So this is Obama's war. He really became the strategist-in-chief.

SAWYER: And someone says to him, if you do this, it will become your war. He says?

WOODWARD: It already is. Even more so now, because and we know, as the news shows and as my reporting shows, the -- there are lots of things going on that are not positive.

SAWYER: Yes I mean, toward the end of the book, you talk about Marjah, which was going to be the great triumph -- a 155 square foot farm town. And it was going to be the great triumph.

WOODWARD: And it's -- literally, the people in the White House are, based on the negative news last spring, are saying well, let's do our December strategy review now, because things aren't going to change.

SAWYER: One of the things that is missing from this entire portrait is Michelle. You've written before about Laura Bush's role.

Where is Michelle Obama in all this?

WOODWARD: I don't know. And I've confessed to not cracking that code and I wish I had. That's something she can -- or somebody is going to -- you know, what's the pillow talk?

There always is, as there should be.

SAWYER: Did you glean anything about her role?

WOODWARD: She wants him home for dinner on time with her and the girls. And that the day of presidential business is set unless there is pressing business, which there often is, or a crisis.

SAWYER: Are the two people among the largest in -- in the book, for you, General Petraeus and President Obama?


SAWYER: Very different personalities.

WOODWARD: And at the height of...

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