How Martha Mitchell helped Woodward and Bernstein investigate John Mitchell

There was no mistaking the voice on the other end of the phone line.

That twangy timbre. Brash and sass. Undiluted Arkansas Delta.

Bob Woodward had heard this voice before. So when he answered his desk phone

that Sunday in the spring of 1974 he didn’t have to strain to realize

he was talking to Martha Mitchell, the mercurial wife of President Richard Nixon’s

former attorney general, the corrupt, pipe-smoking John Mitchell.

Portrayed by Julia Roberts in a Starz miniseries that started airing this spring,

Martha Mitchell was something of a star in those days in Washington.

She piled that marvelous thick blond hair higher and higher.