Wendel on the Web is WKYC reporter/producer Kim Wendel's "take" and commentary on the news of the day


Several generations only know about the Watergate scandal and break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in that office complex that brought down President Richard Nixon from the 1976 movie "All the President's Men" that starred Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, respectively.

The most recent generation may not even react if you said "Watergate" and that's too bad.

I had just graduated from college a week before the scandal broke and later spent hours and days watching the Watergate hearings on TV, mesmerized by what was going on.

It will soon be the 42nd anniversary of the break-in and the 40th anniversary of Nixon's historic resignation.

If you live in Northeast Ohio or are from Northeast Ohio, you have already been exposed to the Cuyahoga County corruption scandal that broke July 28, 2008, that brought down two county judges, a county commissioner and county auditor and about 48 others who were involved in the bribery and extortion schemes.

We're reminded of this as the Youngstown mayor, the Mahoning County auditor and a Youngstown attorney were indicted Wednesday on a total of 73 counts, including bribery and theft in office.

Politicians are still in the news, whether it is corruption or sex scandals.

But back in the early '70s, this was not the case. Watergate was days and months of news and unfolded on a national level, dubbed "a national nightmare.".

Which is what brings me to the Associated Press copy that came down today.

Jeb Stuart Magruder, the man who said he heard Nixon order the Watergate break-in, died Sunday at 79 in Danbury, Connecticut from complications from a stroke.

You see, Magruder was a businessman who became Nixon's deputy campaign director and then served in Nixon's presidential administration. He was one of the Watergate figures that actually went to prison -- for seven months -- for lying about the involvement of Nixon's re-election committee in the break-in.

We know that Nixon eventually resigned Aug. 9, 1974, because of all of that, although President Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon later.

Magruder later became a minister serving in California, Ohio and Kentucky, and a church fundraising consultant. In 2003. It was in 2003 that Magruder said he heard Nixon tell John Mitchell, the former attorney general who headed the president's re-election campaign, to proceed with the plan to break into the headquarters.

Why Magruder waited so long we'll never know.

Magruder was executive minister at the First Community Church in Columbus 1984 to 1990.

There were more intriguing characters involved in Watergate --n about 40 of them in all -- but none changed so much afterwards as Magruder did. Let's hope he finds peace.

Follow Kim Wendel on Twitter @KimWendel

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