President Ford's election campaign has run into new difficulties following suggestions that he may have been involved in the early stages of the cover-up of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Nixon.
CU John Dean
MV (Left to right Carl Stern, Tom Borkaw, John Dean
CU Carl Stern
CU Dean answering Stern's question
MV Three men
SV Dean listening
SV All three
CU Tom Brokaw (subtitle -- 'Today host')
CU Dean answering
STERN: "If I may, Tom, what the transcript of the Ford confirmation hearings said.... I'll read....it won't be the whole thing, but the question is from Senator Byrd. 'Were you in contact with anyone at the White House during the period August to October 1972 concerning the Patman Committee's possible investigation of the Watergate break-in?" Answer, Mr. Ford: 'Not to my best recollection.' do you think Mr. Ford would have recalled that? Is that likely that he wouldn't have recalled it?"
DEAN: "I would be surprised if he didn't recall it. he knew Dick cook from a number of years. He knew Dick Cook worked at the White House. I would be very surprised if he didn't know of the White House's interest in not having those hearings go forward."
STERN: "So do you believe that Mr. Ford did not tell the truth when he said to this Committee under oath that he did not recall any such contact?
DEAN: "I believe 'not recollecting' is a very safe answer for him."
STERN: 'Okay, my question is -- do you believe he lied?"
DEAN: "I don't want to say that. I'll stand on the facts as I know them."
TOM BROKAW: "And what are the facts as you know them about Ger.....about the extent of Gerald Ford's knowledge of what had happened during Watergate. Did he perceive this as only a political problem possibly embarrassing to the White House or did he understand the real nature of what was going on....what you were attempting to do?"
DEAN: "Well, I don't think anybody and briefed Mr. Ford, or Mr. Ford had intimate knowledge as to what was going on. I think it was very clear that the White House didn't want this investigation going on just before an election. I think that anybody who was in Washington during the days of Watergate and the cover-up didn't need much to know that something wrong had gone on and there were efforts to keep it quiet. But I don't know of any specific briefings that Mr. Ford was given. Certainly I didn't give him any, nor do I know of Timmins or Cook or anybody else giving him any."
CARL STERN & TONY BROKAW
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: President Ford's election campaign has run into new difficulties following suggestions that he may have been involved in the early stages of the cover-up of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Nixon. The allegations were made by a former White House aide in the Nixon administration, Mr. John ???, who has served a prison term for his part in the cover-up. The allegations were made on N.B.C.'s programme "Today" emanating from New York. Reporters Carl Stern and Tom Brokaw talked to John Dean. John Dean said another White House employee, Mr. Richard Cook, had told him that Mr. gerald Ford -- then a Congressman -- was going to instruct members of a Republican Congressional Party to vote against an inquiry into the Watergate scandal in its early stages. John Dean said Mr. ford had a number of meetings with Mr. Cook. Dean was asked about the allegations.