Watergate Quotes

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Quote Author Cited
I ordered that they use any means necessary, including illegal means, to accomplish this goal. . . . The president of the United States can never admit that. Richard Nixon
You remember Huston's plan. I want it implemented on a thievery basis. God damn it. Blow the safe and get it. Richard Nixon
Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself. Richard Nixon
I suppose this [Watergate] is an example of the dangers of letting down your guard against increased executive powers–no matter what the circumstances. Not that the danger was not real, but in this case the risk of the remedy was as great as the disease. There was a willingness to accept without challenge the Executive's claim to increased power. That's why we acted as we did, and it was a mistake. Tom Charles Huston
I don’t know what he was so angry about. He won…. If I had won, he would have been much better off. He would have been spared getting disgraced by Watergate. George McGovern
We didn’t have a moral majority in America. If we did, Clinton would have been impeached. Paul Weyrich
These people were not even good burglars. They were bungelers. Jeb Stuart McGruder
We were caught in a hell of a trap. Jeb Stuart McGruder
I’ve studied Nixon since the Kennedy campaign. I’ve no doubt that the trail will lead to the Oval Office. Lawrence O'Brien
I’m not your lawyer. But if I were in your shoes, I’d tell the President to burn the tapes immediately and then proclaim he’d done so as a matter of national security and executive privilege and out of an obligation to protect the office of the presidency. Joseph A. Califano Jr.
He was calling me about something else, so he just dropped it in. I’m not supposed to tell anyone. He made me promise. Henry A. Kissinger
Mr. President, there is no lack of confidence in you whatsoever. The trouble is … some of these Democratic senators … The problem is these bastard traitors we have in this country. Henry A. Kissinger
What may, under proper judicial safeguards, sometimes be justifiable and moral measures against the enemies of the democratic system, can never be legitimately employed against one's (political) opponents within that democratic system without calling all the axioms of democracy into question. Sidney Hook
In the absence of their superior's adherence to the law, honorable men either speak up or get out Lowell P. Weicker Jr.
If you want the helm of the Titanic, have at it! Anonymous
Impeachment With Honor! Jail to the Chief! Impeach the Cox-sacker! Anonymous
[Referring to Richard Nixon:] Either impeach him or get off his back. George Aiken
They are entitled to their rightful share in running the country. Idi Amin Dada
I suppose we should all sing "Bail to the Chief. Howard Baker
What did the President know and when did he know it? Howard Baker
[Referring to Watergate:] A group of politicians deciding to dump a president because his morals are bad is like the Mafia getting together to bump off the Godfather for not going to church on Sunday. Russell Baker
We like to think of it not as a burglary, but as a surreptitious entry. Bernard Barker
As I watched some of the Watergate hearings I kept asking myself what all these people—[John] Dean and others—were doing there in the first place. Was there really an honest job that needed doing? Daniel J. Boorstin
One of the distinctions between democracy and other forms of government is that while democracy is messy on the surface, other forms of government are messy underneath. Daniel J. Boorstin
The respect of the American people for the Congress has been increased. They can see the Congress as a vigilant Congress. Daniel J. Boorstin
What is this "Watergate? Leonid I. Brezhnev
… the most transparent liar I have ever met Fred Buzhatdt
For myself and for our nation I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land. Jimmy Carter
I guess we have found the smoking pistol, haven’t we? Barber Conable
It was the saddest day of my life. Norris H. Cotton
Unlike a monarch, the President is not the Sovereign. Archibald Cox
I don't believe Richard Nixon ... ever shall be totally exonerated. While it's true he's been pardoned for any Federal crimes he may have committed as President, he can't escape the judgement of history. John Dean
We have a cancer within, close to the Presidency, that is growing. It is growing daily. John Dean
Our citizens do not know whom to believe, and many of them have concluded that all the processes of government have become so compromised that honest government has been rendered impossible. Samuel J. Ervin Jr.
The President is entitled to keep secret those conversations which a President may have had with his aids for the purpose of advising him in his Constitutional duties. Executive privilege cannot cover crimes, for they are not Constitutional duties. Samuel J. Ervin Jr.
I am just a country lawyer from way down in North Carolina, and I probably make inquiries with a little bit more vigor than some of these high-falutin' city lawyers do. Samuel J. Ervin Jr.
I used to think the Civil War was our country's greatest tragedy, but I do remember that there were a few redeeming features in the Civil War in that there was some spirit of sacrifice and heroism displayed on both sides. I see no redeeming features in Watergate. Samuel J. Ervin Jr.
I don't like the surgeon's knife, but sometimes a cancer comes, a cancer on the body politic, and has to be eradicated the same way. Samuel J. Ervin Jr.
I'm not going to let anybody come down at night like Nicodemus and whisper something in my ear that no one else can hear. That's not executive privilege; it is poppycock. Samuel J. Ervin Jr.
There is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes or makes it the official duty of a President to have anything to do with criminal activities. Samuel J. Ervin Jr.
What they were seeking to steal was not the jewels, money or other property of American citizens, but something much more valuable—their most precious heritage, the right to vote in a free election. Samuel J. Ervin Jr.
We can be lied to only so many times. The best thing that he [President Nixon] can do for the country is to get the hell out of the White House and get out this afternoon. Barry Goldwater
It was an act of both conscience and cowardice. Leonard Garment
The public has to have a head, and if the President takes the heads away, the public will have his. Leonard Garment
The President is anxious to know what the contents of the mysterious documents are.... I am going to tackle it, of course, but it's a devilishly awkward job, and I may readily find myself in a hell's brew of trouble. Glenn Howell
Come, come, come and play spy with me, Down at the old Watergate; Come, come, come live and lie with me, Down at the old Watergate. See the little German band, Ehrlichman and Haldeman; Don't Martha Mitchell look great? Come, come, come don't be shy with me; I'll have the whole FBI with me; Down at the old Water—we'll make the police blotter — Down at the old Watergate. William Hungate
Extremism in the pursuit of the presidency is an unpardonable vice. Lyndon B. Johnson
I had believed it [organizing the Watergate break-in] was wrong but believed that the greater good was in serving the President. Jeb Stuart Magruder
This'll blow over! Frederick Malek
Find the corrupt officials and then prosecute them and send them to prison! John N. Mitchell
All that crap, you're putting in the paper ... Katie Graham is gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that's published. John N. Mitchell
I think this administration has turned completely against my husband. In other words, they're desperate, and I will not under any circumstances let them pin it [Watergate] on my husband. I think my husband has become the whipping boy for the whole administration, and they want to hide who is really involved. Martha Mitchell
I fear for my husband. I'm really scared. I have a definite reason. I can't tell you why. But they're not going to pin anything on him. I won't let them, and I don't give a damn who gets hurt. I can name names.... If you hear that I'm sick or can't talk, please, please, get your reporters out to find me. Somebody might try to shut me up. Martha Mitchell
The one thing we ought to worry about is the propensity of this country to overreact, and to engage in cycles of bitterness. Edward Levi
Gemstone G. Gordon Liddy
I’ll use prostitutes to go out and seduce … high campaign officials. G. Gordon Liddy
If the national government falls into the hands of sufficiently unprincipled men, they can do terrible things before any one can stop them. Walter Lippmann
Had matters gone as planned—and the [Watergate] tapes trickled out posthumously—[Richard] Nixon would have managed the extraordinary feat of committing suicide after his own death. Henry A. Kissinger
Never! Don’t tell me never! Katharine Graham
… a lying crook in the Presidency James M. Cannon
If you won’t use that line, I quit. Robert Hartman
Public outrage gets used up. You just move to a lower standard. Paul Sarbanes
Senator Howard Baker selected me to be the Republicans’ lawyer in the Watergate hearings, and the Republicans really needed lawyers then. Fred Thompson
Time solves most of these things, and today, most people think he did the right thing. Robert Hartman
No more Nixon jokes. He’s a sick man. Johnny Carson
When you undermine faith in a system, your child may not necessarily see the difference between the politician who is no longer respected and the policeman, the teacher, the parent. Margaret O'Shaughnessy Heckler
You have received an order from your Commander in Chief. Alexander Haig
Nixon would have been better off if I had won George McGovern
My men were caught by the police tonight. I will probably be going to jail. G. Gordon Liddy
Evidence that has surfaced has cast a black cloud of distrust over our entire society. Our citizens do not know whom to believe, and many of them have concluded that all the processes of government have become so compromised that honest government has been rendered impossible. Samuel J. Ervin Jr.
I think we ought to let him hang there. Let him twist slowly, slowly in the wind. John Erlichman
Is there any way we can screw him? Richard Nixon
No more Nixon jokes. He is a sick man and we just can’t do that. Johnny Carson
Although I was aware they were illegal. We had become somewhat inured to using some activities that would help us in accomplishing what we thought was a legitimate cause Jeb Stuart Magruder
The searing melodrama of the Watergate investigation exposed new Nixon lies every day. Rick Perlstein
I had been given some training in my past CIA career to do just this sort of thing ... floating forged newspaper accounts, telegrams, that sort of thing. E. Howard Hunt
I am not quibbling, but there's a difference between something that's illegal and something that's clandestine. An entry into something like Dr. Fielding's office would simply be called an entry operation conducted under the auspices of competent authority. E. Howard Hunt
… this is your finest hour. I thought you were just great and everybody I talk to feels the same way …, You know Ruth … thinks this is all a Communist plot, left wing and everything else Billy Graham
I’m positive that the President is innocent of any involvement in Watergate Gerald R. Ford
I must say to you that the state of the Union is not good. Gerald R. Ford
I have no intention whatever of ever walking away from the job that the people elected me to do. Richard Nixon
I can go into my office and pick up the telephone, and in 23 minutes 70 million people will be dead. Richard Nixon
[Commenting on Watergate:] Never again must America allow an arrogant, elite guard of political adolescents to by-pass the regular party organization and dictate the terms of a national election. Gerald R. Ford
I am acutely aware that I have received the votes of none of you. Gerald R. Ford
Out long national nightmare is over. Our constitution works. Gerald R. Ford
Gentlemen, in light of this discussion, I must really leave the room. I can't stay any longer. It wouldn't be proper for me to remain. Gerald R. Ford
Rockefeller brought a lot of balance to my administration…. I wanted him on the ticked but if Rockefeller had stayed on the ticket I would probably have not gotten the nomination. Ronald Reagan would have gotten the nomination. Rockefeller made the unselfish decision to withdraw so I could win the nomination. Gerald R. Ford
Follow the Money W. Mark Felt
Even Napoleon had his Watergate. Danny Ozark

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