Bernstein: Ford's Nixon Pardon 'Right Thing To Do'

March 9th, 2011 8:06 AM

A minor historical footnote, perhaps, but arguably an interesting one . . .

A man whose Watergate reporting made his career and led to Richard Nixon's downfall has declared that Pres. Gerald Ford did the right thing in pardoning Nixon.  

Carl Bernstein made the--to me at least--surprising statement on today's Morning Joe, in the course of a discussion of Jeff Greenfield's new book about various what-ifs in history.

View video after the jump.


Bernstein was arguing that if Ford had not pardoned Nixon, he might well have defeated Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election.  When Pat Buchanan suggested that letting Nixon stand trial would have torn the country apart, Bernstein opined that pardoning Nixon was "the right thing to do."

CARL BERNSTEIN: If Ford hadn't pardoned Nixon, there's a really good chance that Carter wouldn't have been elected.
PAT BUCHANAN: I don't know about that. If he hadn't done that, if he had set Nixon on trial, it would have torn the country apart.  I do agree that if --

BERNSTEIN: It was the right thing to do to pardon him.

BUCHANAN: Look, I think he did the right thing.

BERNSTEIN: I do too.


Bernstein Blasted Pardon At The Time: h/t Georgia Girl.  As reported by his Watergate WaPo sidekick Bob Woodward, when Bernstein first heard of the pardon, his reaction was "the son of a b---- pardoned the son of a b----."  Maybe next time Berstein's on Morning Joe he could explain how and when his thinking . . . evolved.

Calmer Carl:  Last time I blogged about Bernstein, it was to blast him for his bumbling attack on Sarah Palin.  It was a much calmer Carl on Morning Joe today, offering only pro forma criticisms of Scott Walker and calls for the defunding of NPR.