Woodward and Bernstein Swore Off Talking About Nixon Impeachment

Woodward and Bernstein thought saying the word impeachment would make people think they had an agenda.

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By Amanda Ruggeri, Washington Whispers

Just 10 weeks after the 1972 Watergate break-in, Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward had a feeling that President Nixon was going to be impeached. So says Bernstein, who revealed their suspicions at last night's Newseum screening of All the President's Men. The first big tip-off was a notebook found on one of the burglars with a notation in it: "W House."

But the realization that Attorney General John Mitchell had control of a secret Republican fund to gather information about the Democrats was even bigger. That, Bernstein said, was "when we realized that this was probably going to involve the president of the United States in some kind of horrible way." On the September 1972 day he and Woodward found out, they met at a vending machine off the Post newsroom for coffee. (It was where they met every day, Bernstein said, to "get their ducks in a row" so they could try to convince their editors that the story was as big as they thought it was—something the editors didn't always believe.) As he put in a dime, Bernstein said, "I literally felt this thing go down my back." He turned to Woodward and said, "Oh, my God, this president is going to be impeached." Woodward's reply, Bernstein recalled, was, " 'You're right.' And, he said, 'We can never use that word impeachment in this newsroom, because they'll think we have an agenda.' Even now, talking about it, it sends a chill."