Woodward likes listening to Nixon tapes in his car

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At Nathans Restaurant in Georgetown, Bob Woodward sat beneath David Hume Kennerly’s iconic photo of former American presidents. George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon smiled and waved above Woodward’s combed silver mane. But as Woodward’s light-sensitive tinted glasses gradually lost their opacity, the cheerful Presidents looked more and more like a row of sitting ducks.

"I'm scared of you," joked Nathans owner, former journalist Carol Joynt, as she introduced her guest. That didn’t stop Joynt from inviting Woodward to one of her weekly Q&A Cafes, a formal three-course lunch featuring an informal interview with a Washington newsmaker.

Flatscreen TVs allowed an overflow crowd squeezed into the bar a closed-circuit broadcast of the interview—as well as, before that, video of Woodward polishing off potato chips and scratching his nose.

But there were other pre-interview events to amuse diners: the deliveries of a small green salad, a plate of cheese tortellini with tomato cream sauce, and a lined blue notecard upon which diners could write questions for Ms. Joynt to ask.

The interview, structured as a fireside chat between Joynt and Woodward, revealed a side rarely seen of the famed Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who, with Carl Bernstein, was the force behind Watergate and three decades of insider Washington reportage. His latest book, "State of Denial," remains on best-seller lists....

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