The Scarlett Leadership Institute at Belmont University recently hosted esteemed broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff on campus to speak to members of their Executive Learning Networks. Speaking Thursday morning in the Frist Lecture Hall, Woodruff tackled the topic “Inside Politics 2009: The New President’s First 100 Days.”
A long-time Washington, D.C. and White House correspondent, Woodruff congratulated the university on successfully hosting the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate but also admitted to knowing about Belmont well before Oct. 7. “Belmont came on my radar screen last March when my alma mater Duke was scared within an inch of its life by your basketball team.”
She opened her talk with an analysis of how the United States is currently experiencing both “the best of times and the worst of times.” Though journalists covering the political arena are notoriously jaded and cynical, Woodruff commented that she and her colleagues have never seen such excitement and hope surrounding a new administration. However, the country is also experiencing an economy in shambles and numerous international concerns.
In addition to surrounding himself with “smart stars,” Woodruff noted that President Obama himself exudes a confident calm in the midst of crisis though he and his counterparts must avoid the temptations of arrogance. “He by all accounts is an exceptionally secure man: no drama Obama,” she said. “Writing his first book, Dreams From My Father, may have been a kind of catharsis, enabling him to overcome any self-doubts from his history.”
Woodruff has covered politics and other news for more than three decades at CNN, NBC and PBS. Most recently, she signed on as a senior correspondent and 2008 political editor for the “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.” “After four decades in journalism, I can’t recall a time more exciting or more perilous, and I can’t wait to cover it.”