Woodward and Bernstein agree: IRS scandal isn’t Watergate…yet

Updated
Bob Woodward's reporting on the Watergate scandal lead, in part, to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Bob Woodward's reporting on the Watergate scandal lead, in part, to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Legendary investigative journalist Bob Woodward said the comparisons of the IRS targeting scandal to the Watergate one that took down the Richard Nixon administration are premature.

“It’s a big mess, obviously,” Woodward, who helped break open the Watergate scandal, said on Friday’s Morning Joe. “I know there have been these comparisons to Watergate, but I’d say not yet.”

Republicans have been quick to call the IRS’ targeting scandal (and a few other things) the president’s own Watergate. But Woodward and his partner in breaking the Watergate story, Carl Bernstein, both agree that this story is nothing like the one they famously reported, which eventually lead to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

On Monday’s Morning Joe, Bernstein pushed back against claims that the current IRS scandal would rival President Nixon’s abuse of power in the Watergate scandal.

“In the Nixon White House, we heard the president of the United States on tape saying ‘use the IRS to get back on our enemies,’” Bernstein said. “We know a lot about President Obama, and I think the idea that he would want the IRS used for retribution—we have no evidence of any such thing.”

Woodward, however, suggested that the Obama administration’s handling of its talking points after the deadly terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, was a far worse abuse of power—and a more fitting comparison to Watergate.

“If you read through all these emails, you see that everyone in the government is saying, ‘Oh, let’s not tell the public that terrorists were involved, people connected to al Qaeda. Let’s not tell the public that there were warnings,’” he said. “And I have to go back 40 years to Watergate when Nixon put out his edited transcripts to the conversations, and he personally went through them and said, ‘Oh, let’s not tell this, let’s not show this.’ I would not dismiss Benghazi. It’s a very serious issue.”

Watch the full video below.

Woodward and Bernstein agree: IRS scandal isn’t Watergate…yet

Updated