Handy Excuses for Nixon Backers?

A 1973 satirical column offering familiar-sounding responses to criticisms of the Nixon Administration's Watergate scandal is authentic.

  • Published 19 May 2017

Claim

A 1973 column by humorist Art Buchwald, which provided canned responses for people supporting Nixon as the Watergate scandal grew, is authentic.

Origin

In May 2017, as the firing of FBI director James Comey by President Donald Trump precipitated a wave of scandals ultimately resulting in the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump campaign and its associates, comparisons between Trump and Nixon became a trending topic online.

One item shared in this context was a 1973 column by syndicated Washington Post humorist Art Buchwald — a list of canned responses to criticisms of President Nixon. Some online have questioned its authenticity due to its apparent relevance to today’s political climate. Buchwald introduced that column with this explanation:

These are difficult times for people who are defending the Nixon administration. […] As a public service I am printing instant responses for loyal Nixonites when they are attacked at a party. Please cut it out and carry it in your pocket.

Buchwald’s suggestions included:

3 – A President can’t keep track of EVERYTHING his staff does.

4 –  The press is blowing this whole thing up.

5 – Whatever Nixon did was for national security.

10 – If you impeach Nixon, you get [Vice President Spiro] Agnew.

14 – People would be against Nixon no matter what he did.

28 – I’m sick and tired of hearing about Watergate and so is everyone else.

The article is authentic and, as a syndicated column, can be found in the archives of myriad newspapers. It first appeared in print on 12 July 1973:

 

Reno Gazette-Journal, 12 July 1973. Credit: Newspapers.com

 

Los Angeles Times, 12 July 1973. Credit: Newspapers.com

 

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