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Reprinted in Herblocks Special Report
Richard Nixon was elected to the presidency in 1968 as a Republican. In 1972, Nixon ran for re-election. Because of Nixon's characteristic paranoia regarding his political opponents, his staff formed the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP), which carried out various forms of political sabotage to prevent Nixon's defeat. One of the most egregious forms of sabotage occurred in 1972 when people affiliated with Nixon's campaign and CREEP broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. with the intent to tap the phones. They were arrested, and the publicity surrounding this event threatened Nixon's reputation. Nixon and his cabinet attempted to stonewall all investigations and immediately began a cover-up of the whole affair. This cartoon demonstrates the various efforts that Nixon and his administration engaged in to prevent a potentially damning investigation into the scandal. The top plank reads: "Postponement of Watergate Trial Until After Election" referring to the trial of those caught in the break-in, and the desire to avoid having that trial interfere with Nixon's re-election. The second plank reads: "White House 'Investigations' by Stans, Mitchell and Dean" referring to the internal investigation carried out by Nixon's staff into the break-in, which many people found inadequate. The third plank reads: "White House Interference With FBI Investigation," which refers to the plan that Nixon and his staff formulated to block the FBI investigation in the name of national security. The last plank reads: "Claim of 'Executive Privilege' to Prevent Testimony on Corruption" referring to the undefined and implied power of the executive, invoked by Nixon, to avoid certain warrants and investigations. The bottom of the panel reveals Nixon sliding a note under the door, claiming he has nothing to hide - Nixon maintained his innocence the whole affair until the end.
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University (A 1973 Herblock cartoon. Copyright the Herb Block Foundation)