Maureen Dowd . . . was traveling with us and was granted a brief interview with Obama. When we brought her to the front of the plane for the interview, however, Obama proceeded to blister her for a previous column she had written. No one got under Barack's skin more than Maureen, whose penchant for delving into the psyches of her subjects was particularly irritating to the self-possessed Obama. Normally polite under any circumstances, he was patronizing and disrespectful to Maureen in a way that I had rarely seen. This was not well received by Dowd who, like most journalists, was accustomed to firing off salvos, yet decidedly uncomfortable when fired upon herself. After that awkward encounter, she seemed to take particular delight in psychoanalyzing Barack and belittling him in print, which only deepened his contempt. Maureen, who is as gracious and loyal to her friends as she is rough on the high and mighty, would become a friend of mine in Washington, which became a minor source of tension with Obama. "Why are you friends with her?" he would demand after Maureen sent one of her acid darts his way.Dowd defends herself like this:
All the great traumatizing events of American history— Watergate, Vietnam, the Iran/contra stuff — have always been about the president’s personal demons and gremlins. So I always thought that criticism was just silly … as if it was a girlish thing to be focused on the person.It takes a certain kind of mind to believe that Vietnam was about Johnson's "personal demons."