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Here in our Hot Topics area, you'll find the newest essays covering up-to-date news and events. Each Hot Topics essay is 100% original and custom written to demonstrate the high quality of our writing. To receive your own custom written paper on any topic, click here and we will write a paper to meet your requirements and instructions.

In May, 2013, President Barack Obama was engulfed in a firestorm of scandal. News broke that his administration was been behind IRS harassment of right-wing Tea Party organizations, wiretapping of reporters' phones at the Associated Press (AP) and Fox News services, and most damaging, an alleged cover-up of the September, 2012, attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed. The severity of the allegations, along with the timing of the media frenzy surrounding them, caused many to speculate that President Obama had stumbled into his own Watergate, a reference to the scandal that toppled Richard Nixon's presidency during his second term. In the years since Nixon's resignation, Watergate has become the "standard against which to judge or misjudge scandals" (Clymer para. 2). The truth of the matter, however, is that the press, the public and their elected officials have become much more jaded in the 40 years since the Watergate story broke. Each two-term president since Nixon has suffered at least one major scandal during his second term. Such scandals inevitably resulted in the opposing party calling for impeachment and special investigation. Ultimately, however, little has come of it. In spite of the seriousness of the allegations that the Obama administration is facing, President Obama has not yet met his Watergate.

Obama's Watergate?


The Watergate Scandal

In the early morning hours of June 17, 1972, five months before the presidential election, police arrested five men inside the Democratic National Committee (DNC) offices in the Watergate building outside Washington, D.C. The five men – James McCord, Bernard Barker, Eugenio Martinez, Virgilio Gonzalez, and Frank Sturgis – carried electronic equipment, cameras, and a considerable amount of cash (United States v. Haldeman). They had been hired by the Committee to Reelect the President [Nixon] ("CREEP") and had been in the DNC offices once before, in late May 1972. Their mission was to repair a defective bugging device, placed during the prior break-in, on the telephone of Democratic National Chairmen chairman Lawrence O'Brien. All this was done with the knowledge and guidance of both John Mitchell, the Attorney General of the United States and White House Chief Counsel John W. Dean (Haldeman)

Upon arrest, all five men gave aliases to the D.C. police. G. Gordon Liddy, was hired for the job by senior White House official John Ehrlichman, had been monitoring the operation from a motel across the street, reported the capture to CREEP's highest officials informing them that one of the burglars, James McCord, was on CREEP's payroll as chief of security. In an effort to avoid the appearance of any link between CREEP and the burglars, Mitchell met with other conspirators and decided to contact the new Attorney General, Richard Kleindienst, urging him to have McCord released from jail before the police penetrated his alias. Kleindienst insisted that the burglars receive no special treatment (Haldeman).

In Washington, White House and CREEP files were being cleansed of sensitive materials relating to Gemstone. Gordon Strachan, a White House staffer, performed this function under orders from H.R. Haldeman, the President's Chief of Staff.

John Dean, White House Counsel, monitored the Watergate investigation to guarantee that no one was implicated beyond the five burglars. However, on September 15, 1972, the grand jury indicted the five burglars plus Hunt and Liddy (Haldeman).

What Dean and others did during this period eventually led to the March 1, 1974 indictment of seven additional men, including Mitchell, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Strachan, CREEP lawyer Kenneth W. Parkinson and White House aide Charles Colson. They were charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, making false statements to a government agency, and defrauding the United States by corrupting the operation of the CIA and FBI. n128 Dean and two key CREEP executives were not named as defendants because, by the time of the indictment, they were cooperating with prosecutors. President Nixon was referred to as an unindicted co-conspirator. Four months after the cover-up and indictment, when the secret Watergate taping system revealed that Nixon was involved in obstruction of justice, he resigned as President on August 8, 1974 (Haldeman).

Watergate's Legacy and the Obama Administration
In the aftermath of Watergate, Americans developed a mistrust of politicians and for the office of the President, in particular. Especially among the media, the level to which political missteps are criminalized has grown exponentially over the last four decades, and the actual level to which a political act must rise for real culpability to ensue now stands at a height that hasn't been reached since Watergate (Clymer). Reagan, the first president after Nixon to serve two terms, directed that arms be funneled to Iran in order to pay for CIA-backed civil war in Nicaragua. The Iran-Contra scandal, which came to light during Reagan's second term, reached the highest levels of the administration. In spite of the media's evisceration of the cast of characters involved in the dustup. Regan's vice president (and former head of the CIA), George H.W. Bush was elected president in 1988.

A decade later, President Bill Clinton, a Democrat in office with a Republican-controlled Congress, actually faced impeachment hearings. Such hearings weren't held over the shady business dealings that came to light during the Whitewater controversy, nor were they triggered by the military stumble in Mogadishu, Somalia, which left 16 American soldiers dead and was retold in the book, Blackhawk Down, and in the film of the same title. As angry as the press appeared to be about the genocide taking place in Rwanda at the time, about which the U.S. government did nothing, or the attacks against the World Trade Center in 1993 and multiple American embassies in Africa in 1998 (masterminded by Osama Bin Laden), Congress did not initiate impeachment hearings against President Clinton until an intern named Monica Lewinsky claimed to have had sexual relations with the President, who denied it under oath. Ultimately, the impeachment proceedings failed and Clinton served out his term. Like George H.W. Bush in the earlier decade, Clinton's Vice President, Al Gore, was elected in the next presidential race – by popular vote anyway: the Supreme Court awarded the electoral votes to the son of former President Bush, George W. Bush (Clymer).

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