The current slate of controversies consuming the White House has some people comparing President Barack Obama to former President Richard Nixon, but a former top aide to Nixon thinks that’s ridiculous.
John Dean, who served as White House counsel under the disgraced former president, said that anyone applying the Nixonian label to Obama is “challenged in their understanding of history.” There’s no legitimate comparison, Dean argued, between the Internal Revenue Service’s improper targeting of conservative groups, the Department of Justice’s subpoena of Associated Press phone records or the investigation into the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya and the scandals that ultimately led to Nixon’s undoing.
“There are no comparisons. They’re not comparable with any of the burgeoning scandals,” Dean told the Boston Globe.
Dean was present in the Oval Office when Nixon suggested using the IRS to target his foes.
Obama on Thursday urged people to “read the history” and decide for themselves if the Nixon comparison is appropriate. Famed journalist Bob Woodward on Friday said that it’s premature to compare the IRS scandal to Watergate, but he invoked Nixon’s name when discussing Benghazi.
“I have to go back 40 years to Watergate when Nixon put out his edited transcripts of the conversations and he personally went through them and said, ‘Oh, let’s not tell this, let’s not show this,'” Woodward said during an apperance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I would not dismiss Benghazi. It’s a very serious issue.”