The head of security for the reelection of a Republican President got caught bugging the national offices of the Democrats? What the hell does that mean?
Hi, I'm Bob Woodward of the Washington Post--and--what's that?--you've never heard of me?--I can't help that--you don't believe I'm with the Post?--what do you want me to do, Madam, shout "extra--extra"?
[about Martha Mitchell] I just don't get it; a CREEP secretary being scared, that's one thing. But what does the wife of one of the most powerful men in America have to be afraid of?
This is terrific work, if you like rejection.
At Yale once, they held an auction. There was this woman and her name was Lulu Landis. Her postcards came up for sale. She had 1400 postcards written to her and I'd never heard of her before but I knew I had to have those cards, I had to know why anyone would get so many messages. I paid sixty-five dollars for them... I got all crazy trying to work it out and first it was just a maze but then I found that her husband killed himself in Dayton, and once I had that, it all began to open, an evangelist had come to Dayton and his horses hit Lulu Landis at the corner of 13th and Vermillion and she was paralyzed. Permanently, and her favorite thing til then had been traveling and all her friends, whenever they went anyplace, they wrote her. Those cards, they were her eyes...
I lived here all my life, I got a million contacts, but they're all bus boys and bellhops.
[to Martin Dardis] Look, you've been jerking my chain all day. If there's some reason you can't talk to me--like the fact that you've already leaked everything to The New York Times--just say so.
My first day as a copy boy I was sixteen and wearing my only grown-up suit--it was cream colored. At 2:30 the head copy boy comes running up to me and says, "My God, haven't you washed the carbon paper yet? If it's not washed by three, it'll never be dry for tomorrow." And I said, "Am I supposed to do that?" and he said, "Absolutely, it's crucial." So I run around and grab all the carbon paper from all the desks and take it to the men's room. I'm standing there washing it and it's splashing all over me and the editor comes in to take a leak, and he says, "What the fuck do you think you're doing?" And I said, "It's 2:30. I'm washing the carbon paper." Just wanted you to know I've done dumber things than get us lost, that's all.
Goddammit, when is somebody going to go on the record in this story?!...You guys are about to write a story that says the former Attorney General, the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in this country, is a crook! Just be sure you're right...Leave plenty of room for his denial.
Once when I was reporting, Lyndon Johnson's top guy gave me the word they were looking for a successor to J. Edgar Hoover. I wrote it and the day it appeared Johnson called a press conference and appointed Hoover head of the FBI for life... And when he was done, he turned to his top guy and the President said, "Call Ben Bradlee and tell him fuck you." I took a lot of static for that--everyone said, "You did it, Bradlee, you screwed up--you stuck us with Hoover forever." I screwed up but I wasn't wrong. You guys haven't been wrong yet, is that why you're scared shitless? You should be.
It's like they taught us at Harvard: few things are as gratifying to the soul as having another man's nuts in a vise.
Either of you want a drink or should I order? Because--because our cocks are on the chopping block and you've got to be sure that you're not just dealing with people who hate Richard Nixon and want to get him through us. You see, I don't give a shit who's President--I really don't, it's an adversary situation between them and us and it's always gonna be. I never had a closer friend than Jack Kennedy and once I printed something that pissed him off and for seven months I didn't exist.
All right, you made a mistake maybe, we all have, just don't make another. And watch your personal lives, who you hang around with. Someone once said the price of democracy is a bloodletting every ten years. Make sure it isn't our blood.
Now hold it, hold it. We're about to accuse Mr. Haldeman, who only happens to be the second most important man in America, of conducting a criminal conspiracy from inside the White House. It would be nice if we were right.
You know the results of the latest Gallup Poll? Half the country never even heard of the word Watergate. Nobody gives a shit. You guys are probably pretty tired, right? Well, you should be. Go on home, get a nice hot bath. Rest up... 15 minutes. Then get your asses back in gear. We're under a lot of pressure, you know, and you put us there. Nothing's riding on this except the, uh, first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys fuck up again, I'm gonna get mad. Goodnight.
As a rough rule of thumb, as far as I can throw Bronco Nagurski, that's how much I trust John Mitchell...
[to Wodward] I can't sell hints to Simons-- you called everyone you know? Call someone you don't know.
[to Ben Bradlee] Benjy, we got a present for you. Above the fold on page one for sure. It may not change our lives one way or the other. Just a good, solid piece of American Journalism that The New York Times doesn't have.
CREEP financed the Watergate break-in, Jesus Christ.
Richard Nixon: The White House has had no involvement whatever in this particular incident.
John Mitchell: All that crap, you're putting it in the paper? It's all been denied. You tell your publisher--tell Katie Graham she's gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that's published. Good Christ! That's the most sickening thing I ever heard.
Hannah: [to Bernstein] Aw baby, you can get it up... I just wonder if you'll ever be able to get it together.
Hugh Sloan, Jr.: I've been looking for a job but it's been... hard. My name's been in the papers too much. Sometimes I wonder if reporters understand how much pain they can inflict in just one sentence. I'm not thinking of myself. But my wife, my parents, it's been very rough on them. I wish I could put down on paper what it's like--you come to Washington because you believe in something, and then you get inside and you see how things actually work and you watch your ideals disintegrate. The people inside, the people in the White House, they start to believe they can suspend the rules because they're fulfilling a mission. That becomes the only important thing--the mission. It's so easy to lose perspective. We want to get out before we lose ours altogether.
White House spokesman: On the record let me say just this: the story is totally untrue. On background, I'd like to add that Bob Haldeman is one of the greatest public servants this country has ever had and the story is a goddamned lie.
Rosenfeld: Where's that cheery face we've come to know and love?
Woodward: You call me in on my day off because some idiots have broken into local Democratic Headquarters--tell me, Harry, why should I be smiling?
Rosenfeld: As usual, that keen mind of yours has pegged the situation perfectly. Except (a) it wasn't local Democratic Headquarters, it was National Democratic Headquarters--and (b) these weren't just any idiots, these were special idiots, seeing as when they were arrested at 2:30 this morning, they were all wearing business suits and Playtex gloves and were carrying--a walkie-talkie, forty rolls of film, cameras, lock picks, pen-sized tear gas guns, plus various bugging devices. Not to mention over two thousand dollars, mostly in sequenced hundred dollar bills.
Woodward: Mr. Caddy? My name's Bob Woodward, I'm from the Post and I wanted to ask about how you happened to come on this case--
Caddy: I'm not here.
Woodward: OK. Douglas Caddy, the attorney of record, when questioned about his presence in the courtroom, denied he was in the courtroom, "I'm not here," Mr. Caddy said.
Caddy: Clearly, I am here, but only as an individual, I'm not the attorney of record. Mr. Rafferty has that position. Whatever you want, you'll have to get from him, I have nothing more to say.
Rosenfeld: Woodward's onto a new wrinkle with the break-in thing--absolute page one stuff--
Simons: In other words, you got nothing, you're thumbsucking.
Rosenfeld: [shrugs] Could develop.
Woodward: Who's Charles Colson?
Rosenfeld: I would liken your query to being in Russia half a century ago and asking someone, "I understand who Lenin is and Trotsky I got too, but who's this yokel Stalin?"
Woodward: Who's Colson, Harry?
Rosenfeld: The most powerful man in America is President Nixon, probably you've heard his name. The second most powerful man is Robert Haldeman. Just below him are a trio: Mr. Erlichman is Haldeman's friend, and they protect the President from everybody which is why they are referred to as either The German Shepherds or the Berlin Wall. Mr. Mitchell we've already discussed. Mr. Colson is the President's special counsel.
Woodward: Thanks, Harry. Know anything about Colson?
Rosenfeld: Just that on his office wall there's a cartoon with a caption reading, "When you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow."
Woodward: I was just kind of wondering why your name and phone number were in the address books of two of the men arrested at Watergate?
Hunt: Good God!
Woodward: According to White House personnel, Hunt definitely works there as a consultant for Colson. But when I called the White House Press office, they said he hadn't worked there for three months. Then the P.R. guy said the weirdest thing to me. [reading] "I am convinced that neither Mr. Colson nor anyone else at the White House had any knowledge of, or participation in, this deplorable incident at the Democratic National Committee."
Simons: Isn't that what you'd expect them to say?
Woodward: I never asked them about Watergate. I only said what were Hunt's duties at the White House. They volunteered that he was innocent when nobody asked was he guilty.
Woodward: What the hell were you doing rewriting my story?
Bernstein: I sure couldn't hurt it, could I?
Woodward: It was fine the way it was.
Bernstein: It was bullshit the way it was.
Woodward: I have to stand here and listen to the staff correspondent from Virginia?
Bernstein: What have you been here, nine months? I been in this business since I was sixteen.
Woodward: And you've had some fucking meteoric rise, that's for sure. By the time you turn forty you might be the head of the Montana bureau.
Bernstein: You only got the job because both you and Bradlee went to Yale.
Woodward: Bradlee went to Harvard.
Bernstein: They're all the same, all those Ivy League places. They teach you about striped ties and suddenly you're smart.
Woodward: I'm smart enough to know my story was solid.
Bernstein: Mine's better.
Woodward: No way.
Bernstein: Read 'em both and you'll see.
[Woodward reads the stories]
Bernstein: Is mine better?
Woodward: What is it about my writing that's so rotten?
Bernstein: Mainly it has to do with your choice of words.
Woodward: Fuck you, Carl.
Bernstein: You heard? They put us both on the break-in thing. Simons liked the way we worked together.
Bernstein: Listen, I'm sorry I said your story was bullshit.
Woodward: It's OK; I'm sorry I called you a failure.
Bernstein: Forget it, the main thing--did you call me a failure?
Woodward: I was sure trying.
Bernstein: Hi. Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post. I was just wondering if you remember the names of any of the books that Howard Hunt checked out on Senator Kennedy.
Librarian: I think I do remember, he took out a whole bunch of material. Let me just go see.
Bernstein: What do you think?
Woodward: Hunt doesn't seem like your ordinary consultant.
Bernstein: Maybe a political operative of some sort.
Woodward: A spy, you mean?
Bernstein: It makes sense; Hunt worked for the C.I.A. and the White House was paranoid about Teddy Kennedy.
Librarian: Mr. Bernstein?
Bernstein: Yes, ma'am.
Librarian: What I said before? I was wrong. The truth is, I don't have a card that Mr. Hunt took out any Kennedy material. I remember getting that material out for somebody, but it wasn't Mr. Hunt. The truth is, I've never had any requests at all from Mr. Hunt. [pause] The truth is, I don't know Mr. Hunt.
Deep Throat: You thought I'd help out on specifics? I'll confirm what you get, try to keep you on the right track, but that's all. Are you guys really working? [Woodward nods] How much?
Woodward: I don't know maybe sixteen, eighteen hours a day--we've got sources at Justice, the FBI, but it's still drying up.
Deep Throat: Then there must be something, mustn't there. Look, forget the myths the media's created about the White House--the truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.
Woodward: If you don't like them, why won't you be more concrete with me?
Deep Throat: Because the press stinks too--history on the run, that's all you're interested in. You come up with anything?
Woodward: John Mitchell resigned as head of CREEP to spend more time with his family. That doesn't exactly have the ring of truth. Howard Hunt's been found--there was talk that his lawyer had 25 thousand in cash in a paper bag.
Deep Throat: Follow the money. Always follow the money.
Woodward: What do you mean? Where?
Deep Throat: Oh, I can't tell you that.
Woodward: But you could tell me that.
Deep Throat: No, I have to do this my way. You tell me what you know, and I'll confirm. I'll keep you in the right direction if I can, but that's all. Just... follow the money.
Woodward: This man Gordon Liddy--he's going to be tried along with Hunt and the five burglars--we know he knows a lot, we just don't know what.
Deep Throat: You changed cabs? You're sure no one followed you?
Woodward: I did everything you said, but it all seemed--
Deep Throat: Melodramatic? Things are past that--remember, these are men with switchblade mentalities who run the world as if it were Dodge City.
Woodward: What's the whole thing about--do you know?
Deep Throat: What I know, you'll have to find out on your own.
Woodward: Liddy--you think there's a chance he'll talk?
Deep Throat: Talk? Once, at a gathering, he put his hand over a candle. And he kept it there. He kept it right in the flame until his flesh seared. A woman who was watching asked, "What's the trick?" And he replied. "The trick is not minding."
Woodward: This should take only a minute, Mr. Dahlberg, but we're doing a follow-up on the break-in...and I was kind of curious about your check.
Woodward: The twenty-five thousand dollar one....The one with your name on it...In Bernard Barker's Florida account...Bernard Barker, the Watergate burglar.
Dahlberg: You're definitely doing a story?
Woodward: Yes, sir.
Dahlberg: I'm a proper citizen, I'm a decent man, I don't do anything that isn't decent or proper. [pause] I know I shouldn't tell you this...That twenty-five thousand dollars is money I collected for Nixon in this year's campaign.
Woodward: I see. And how do you think it reached Miami?
dahlberg: I don't know; I really don't. The last time I saw it was when I was in Washington. I gave it to the Finance department of the Committee to Re-Elect the President. How it got to that burglar, your guess is as good as mine.
National editor: Let me tell what happened when I was having lunch today at the Sans Souci.
Rosenfeld: Correction--when you were drinking your lunch at the bar of the Sans Souci.
National editor: This White House guy, a good one, a pro, came up and asked what is this Watergate compulsion with you guys and I said, well, we think it's important and he said, if it's so goddamn important, who the hell are Woodward and Bernstein?
Rosenfeld: Ask him what he's really saying--he means take the story away from Woodstein and give it to his people at the National Desk.
National editor: Well, I've got some pretty experienced fellas sitting around, wouldn't you say so?
Rosenfeld: Absolutely--and that's all they do, sit sit sit--every once in a while, they call up a Senator, some reporting.
National editor: Well, what if your boys get it wrong?
Bradlee: Then it's our asses, isn't it?
Simons: And we'll all have to go to work for a living.
Foreign editor: I don't think either Metropolitan or National should cover the story. I don't think we should cover the story, period.
Bradlee: Go on.
Foreign editor: It's not that we're using unnamed sources that bothers me, or that everything we print the White House denies, or that almost no other papers are reprinting our stuff.
Simons: What then?
Foreign editor: I don't believe the goddamn story, Howard, it doesn't make sense.
Bradlee: It will, it just hasn't bottomed out yet, give it time.
Foreign editor: Ben, Jesus, there are over two thousand reporters in this town, are there five on Watergate? Where did we suddenly get all this wisdom?
Bernstein: This is practically a high school reunion for us, Jane--I would have sprung for a classier place.
Jane: Anyplace really public, they'd know about it--they know everything at the Committee, Carl.
Bernstein: You don't really think you're being followed?
Jane: This girlfriend of mine at the Committee, the other day she went back to the D.A. to tell the things the FBI didn't ask her. That night, her boss, he knew what she'd done. They control everything; that's how they know it all.
Bernstein: FBI too?
Jane: You don't believe me? Well, I was working the weekend of the break-in and my God, all the executives were running around like crazy--you had to practically wait in line to use the shredding machine--and when the FBI came to investigate, they never even asked me about it.
Bernstein: If you don't like it down there, why don't you quit?
Jane: I don't know what they'd do to me.
Bernstein: Hey, easy...
Jane: We're a long way from high school, Carl, and I'm scared.
Jane: They found out I saw you. They wanted to know everything. Don't call me again.
Bernstein: I can help if you'll...
Jane: Stay away from me, Carl!
Woodward: A friend at the Committee told us to contact you.
Woman: Who was it?
Bernstein: We never reveal our sources, which is why you can talk to us.
Woodward: It's safe, try it, you'll see.
Bernstein: We understand your problem...
Woodward: You believe in the President, you wouldn't ever want to do anything disloyal.
Bernstein: We appreciate your position--really.
Woman: You people--you think that you can come into someone's life, squeeze what you want, then get out. [to Bernstein] You don't appreciate a goddamn thing, mister. [to Woodward] And you don't understand nothing. But the Committee's briefed us on you--so get the hell out of here. Do you like scaring the life out of decent people?--'cause if you don't, in the name of God--stop it!
Man: I know who you are and I'm not afraid but that don't mean I'll talk to you either--you're just a couple Democrats out to stop Nixon getting re-elected.
Man: That's right.
Bernstein: I hate both parties.
Woodward: And I'm a Republican.
Bernstein: Who'd you vote for?
Nixon: [on television] No one in this administration, presently employed, was involved in this very bizarre incident. What really hurts in matters of this sort is not the fact that they occur, because overzealous people in campaigns do things that are wrong. What really hurts is if you try to cover it up.
Woodward: Did he just say what I think he said?
Bernstein: You voted for him.
Bernstein: I want you to know that I understand why you're afraid--a lot of good people down there at the Committee are afraid. I'm really sorry for what you're being put through.
Bookkeeper: All those articles you people write--where do you find that stuff?
Bernstein: We don't tell anyone that. Which is why you can talk to us. And if we can't verify what you say someplace else, we don't print it. That's another reason you can relax.
Bookkeeper: I'm relaxed--light your cigarette.
Bernstein: You were Hugh Sloan's bookkeeper when he worked for Maurice Stans at Finance, and we were sort of wondering, did you go work for Stans immediately after Sloan quit or was there a time lapse?
Bookkeeper: I never worked for Sloan or Stans.
Bookkeeper's sister: Would you like some coffee or anything?
Bernstein: Please, yes, thank you. Can I sit down for a minute?
Bookkeeper: One minute but then--
Bernstein: Right, right, I've got to go. Why did you lie just then? I was just curious--you don't do it well, so I wondered. Have you been threatened, if you told the truth, is that it?
Bookkeeper: No... never in so many words...
Bernstein: It's obvious you want to talk to someone--well, I'm someone.
Bernstein: The General Accounting report said there was a 350 thousand cash slush fund in Stans' safe. Did you know about that from the beginning?
Bookkeeper: There are too many people watching me--they know I know a lot.
Bernstein: It was all in hundreds, wasn't it?
Bookkeeper: A lot of it was. I just thought it was sort of an all-purpose political fund--you know, for taking fat cats to dinner, things like that.
Bernstein: Could buy a lot of steaks, 350,000 dollars.
Bookkeeper: I can't be positive that it was used for the break-in but people sure are worried.
Bernstein: Which people?
Bookkeeper: The ones who could disburse the money....I don't want to say anymore.
Bernstein: You haven't finished telling me about the money.
Bookkeeper: Omigod, there was so much of it, six million came in one two-day period--six million cash, we couldn't find enough places to put it. I thought it was all legal, I guess I did, til after the break-in, when I remembered Gordon got so much of it.
Bernstein: Gordon Liddy, you mean?
Bookkeeper: [nods] It was all so crazy--the day after the break-in he gave us a speech, bouncing up and down on his heels in that loony way of his--Gordon told us not to let Jim McCord ruin everything--don't let one bad apple spoil the barrel, he said. You just know that when Gordon Liddy's calling someone a bad apple, something's wrong somewhere. It's all so rotten... and getting worse... and all I care about is Hugh Sloan. His wife was going to leave him if he didn't stand up and do what was right. And he quit. He quit because he saw it and didn't want any part of it.
Bernstein: Think Sloan's being set up as a fall guy for John Mitchell? Sometimes it looks that way.
Bookkeeper: If you guys... if you guys could just get John Mitchell... that would be beautiful.
Debbie Sloan: This is an honest house.
Woodward: That's why we'd like to see your husband.
Bernstein: Facing certain criminal charges that might be brought against some people that are innocent, we just feel that it would be...
Woodward: It's really for his benefit.
Debbie Sloan: No, it's not.
Woodward: [long pause] No, it's not.
Bernstein: We were hoping that maybe now you could... We know why you left the Committee. We know you're not guilty of anything. But we know you know who is.
Sloan: Look, come in. We'll have to be quiet--my wife's asleep...I'd like to talk to you, I really would, but my lawyers say I shouldn't until after the Watergate trial.
Woodward: You handed out the money. Maybe there's a legitimate explanation for the way it was done.
Bernstein: Then again, maybe things are even worse than we've written...
Sloan: They're worse. That's why I quit.
Sloan: Try and understand this. I'm a decent Republican. I believe in Richard Nixon. I worked in the White House four years--so did my wife. What happened on June 17 I don't think the President knew anything about. Some of his men I'm not so sure of.
Bernstein: Do you think the truth will come out at the trial?
Sloan: That's another of the things I'm not so sure of.
Bernstein: Because people at the Committee were told to lie to the prosecutors?
Sloan: We were never told flat out "Don't talk." But the message was clear.
Bernstein: To cover up?
Sloan: Well, they sure didn't ask us to come forward and tell the truth.
Woodward: Does "they" mean the White House?
Sloan: As opposed to the Committee? The Committee's not an independent operation. Everything is cleared with the White House. I don't think that the FBI or the prosecutors understand that.
Bradlee: All non-denial denials--we're dirty guys and they doubt we were ever virgins but they don't say the story is inaccurate.
Bernstein: What's a real denial?
Bradlee: If they ever start calling us goddamn liars, it's time to start circling the wagons.
Segretti: I'm a lawyer, and I'll probably go to jail, and be disbarred, and what did I do that was so awful? None of it was my idea, Carl--I didn't go looking for the job.
Bernstein: Chapin did contact you then?
Segretti: Sure--off the record.
Bernstein: On the orders of Haldeman?
Segretti: I don't know anything about Haldeman, except, Dwight's frightened of him--everybody's frightened of him--Christ, I wish I'd never gotten messed around with this--all I wanna do is sit in the sun; sit, swim, see some girls.
Bernstein: It gets interesting if it was Haldeman, because our word is that when Chapin says something, he's gotten the OK from Haldeman, and when Haldeman says something, he's gotten the OK from the President.
Segretti: Can't help you.
Bernstein: At USC, you had a word for this--screwing up the opposition you all did it at college and called it ratfucking. [Segretti smiles and nods] Ever wonder if Nixon might turn out to be the biggest ratfucker of them all?
Deep Throat: What's the topic for tonight?
Deep Throat: In my day, it was simply called the double cross. I believe the CIA refers to it as Mindfuck. In our context, it simply means infiltration of the Democrats.
Woodward: I know what it means--Segretti wouldn't go on the record, but if he would, we know he'd implicate Chapin. And that would put us inside the White House.
Deep Throat: Yes, the little ratfuckers are now running our government.
Woodward: Who?--be specific. How high up?
Deep Throat: You'll have to find that out, won't you.
Deep Throat: You were doing so well and then you got stupid, you went too fast--Christ, what a royal screw up.
Woodward: I know, I know, the pressure's off the White House and it's all back on the Post.
Deep Throat: You've done worse than let Haldeman slip away: you've got people feeling sorry for him. I didn't think that was possible. In a conspiracy like this, you build from the outer edges and go step by step. If you shoot too high and miss, everybody feels more secure. You've put the investigation back months.
Woodward: Yes, we know that. And if we're wrong, we're resigning. Were we wrong?
Deep Throat: You'll have to find that out, won't you?
Woodward: I'm tired of your chickenshit games. I don't want hints, I want what you know!