By USM Public Affairs Intern Samantha Howaniec
Bob Woodward spoke to a sold-out crowd, including King Middle School eighth graders, at the third annual WEX Inc. Leadership and Creativity Event Series on the evening of Thursday, November 15 at the University of Southern Maine. Woodward, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Washington Post associate editor, entertained the audience with stories from his long career as an investigative reporter. Throughout the evening, he reached back to his coverage of the Watergate scandal, candidly relaying his opinion on Washington politics throughout his career.
The WEX Inc. Leadership and Creativity Event Series was created in 2010 to bring speakers or creative presenters of national or international renown to USM on an annual basis for the benefit of the entire community. This year’s event featured remarks by Woodward, an onstage discussion between Woodward and WEX Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Dubyak, followed by audience questions. Each year, this event sells out and 100 percent of ticket proceeds support general scholarships at USM.
Woodward told the audience there are those who call America’s fiscal cliff an economic Cuban Missile Crisis, but he felt there were more important things to be concerned about. “We can overcome economic difficulties,” said Woodward, “but the concentration of power and secret government are more frightening.” In order to restore America, Woodward advised that government needs to understand what the specific job at hand is, and be willing to cross party lines, and operate together in the best interest of the nation.
Woodward also spoke highly of the legacy of Maine’s elected officials for acting independently in government, and continually thinking of the larger national interest, agreeing with Senator Olympia J. Snowe’s assessment of Washington gridlock. He explained that when he comes to places like Maine and sees the dedication in independence and entrepreneurship, he can’t help but feel optimistic that all our national problems will be solved.