Watergate – Chapter 2
The History Channel (2016)
I found Chapter 2 the most interesting. It mainly focuses on major foreign policy coups Nixon used to keep Watergate off the front page during the 1972 presidential campaign.
1972 was the first year since the 1949 revolution in which the US (under Nixon’s leadership) engaged in formal diplomatic relations with the Peoples Republic of China. He also negotiated a nuclear weapons treaty with the Soviet Union in 1972, as well as launching a staged troop withdrawal from Vietnam and ending the draft. Anticipating this would be extremely popular with young Americans, he also lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.
Ten days prior to the election, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger announced he had negotiated a peace agreement with North Vietnam.
The other interesting revelations in Chapter 2 concern the dirty tricks campaign the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) engaged in (under former Attorney General John Mitchell) against Nixon’s Democratic opponents. This included paying front runner Edmund Muskee’s chauffeur to copy all his boss’s campaign documents and planting fake news stories slagging off Muskee’s wife. The latter ultimately led to Muskee’s withdrawal from the race.
This episode also reveals threats Nixon’s White House Team reportedly made against Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein, the paper’s publisher Katherine Graham and CBS White House correspondent Dan Rather.
The film can be viewed free on Kanopy.