- Maureen Dowd has offered criticisms of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
- Dowd has covered four US presidents
"That's how I see my job, more how power warps people or how they rise to the occasion, remarkably," Dowd told David Axelrod on "The Axe Files" podcast, produced by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.
"I love the human element in the stories. I am as far as you can get from Nate Silver, let's tote up the numbers, big data" journalism, Dowd said. "I just love the effect people can have when they throw their weight against history, how they deal with crises. And the White House is the ultimate pressure cooker."
In this hour-long conversation, Dowd, who is out with a new book called "The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics," shares her candid -- and sometimes withering -- insights into this year's presidential candidates, as well as the presidents and other politicians she has covered over her storied career.
Donald Trump used to answer Dowd's phone calls but no longer will, she says, after she posed a number of tough, uncomfortable questions to the candidate, including what the consequences would be if a narcissist became president.
"He got mad at me and said I wasn't treating him fairly," Dowd recalled. "He doesn't know he's a clinical narcissist, which is maybe one of the symptoms of clinical narcissism."
Dowd, who has earned a reputation over time for her unsparing criticism of Hillary Clinton, recalls initially feeling sympathy for her when she entered the White House, deferring her own accomplished career for the "antiquated, satin jail called the first lady job."
But, Dowd argues, having observed Clinton since the 1990s, she has also shown a difficulty balancing her "idealistic, public service side" with a "secretive, defensive, my way or the highway" mentality that has compounded her political problems as she dealt with the fallout from her use of private email, her paid speaking activity, and her campaign's response after Clinton was diagnosed with pneumonia last month.
To hear the entire conversation with Dowd, which included her views of the four US presidents she has covered closely, what it felt like crossing paths with Joe Biden after she broke the plagiarism story that ended his 1988 presidential campaign, and how journalism has changed over the years, click on http://podcast.cnn.com
. To get "The Axe Files" podcast every week, subscribe at http://itunes.com/theaxefiles