President Obama's 16 Watergates (So Far)

Today marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's resignation announcement in the wake of the Watergate scandal. As MSNBC's Steve Benen has pointed out, for more than five years, conservatives have invoked Watergate in an attempt to amplify the importance of numerous scandals of the day involving President Obama.

No Obama “scandals” have matched the vast criminality involved with Watergate. The New York Times noted of Watergate's reach: “Entangled in that skein were dozens of men implicated in the scandal, many of whom were top aides to the President. As it steadily unwound, the American people watched a parade of witnesses expose the details of a political crime whose proportions were nearly unfathomable: wiretapping, money laundering, destruction of documents, payment of hush money, character assassination, disinformation and deception -- all perpetrated by people at the highest levels of Government. More than 30 people pleaded guilty or were convicted of crimes like perjury, burglary, wiretapping and obstruction of justice.”

Below is a list of the various supposed scandals conservative media figures have compared to Watergate. The list, originally published in 2012, has been updated with several more recent Watergates.


“We've got a lie and a cover-up here that is bigger than Watergate was. In my mind, there's no question about it.” Rush Limbaugh, 10/19/12

“I think Benghazi's a much bigger scandal than Watergate.” Eric Bolling, Fox News, 8/7/12

“Watergate was about a third-rate burglary that meant nothing and then you've got a presidential cover up, OK, and Nixon paid the price for that. You did not have a body count. Here, you've got four dead Americans including the personal representative of the president of the United States...And you have compounding lies coming out of this administration about a major national security issue. That is Watergate on steroids.” Monica Crowley, Fox News, 10/24/12 [via Nexis]

Fox News has repeatedly invoked Watergate when discussing Benghazi:


“The IRS tea-party audit story isn't Watergate; it's worse than Watergate.” Dan Henninger, Wall Street Journal6/19/14

“IRS scandal carries echoes of Watergate.” George Will, Washington Post5/13/13

“Watergate 2.0 - why the IRS scandal is far worse.” Matt Kibbe, 5/17/13

“I do believe that this IRS scandal is bigger than Watergate. And I think if you look at it objectively, I think you conclude that.” Brent Bozell, 3/6/14

The IRS Auditing Ben Carson

“The fundamental issue here is the freedom of our citizens is being threatened. You know, I think this is a much more serious thing than Watergate or Iran-Contra or even Benghazigate.” Ben Carson, 10/2/13


“Obamacare, honestly, will do more damage to the country than Watergate ever could've done.” Bill Kristol, 11/1/13

“Richard Nixon resigned over a lie nowhere near this big.” Rush Limbaugh, 11/1/13

The Gibson Guitar Raid, The GM Bailout, And The NLRB/Boeing Dispute

In a 2013 column titled, “Obama Scandals vs. Watergate,” FrontPageMag columnist Matthew Vadum posited, “Obama's serial acts of malfeasance have cost hundreds of lives while Nixon's caused no loss of life. Both attacked their political enemies using taxpayer resources and tried to rig the system to favor their side.” Among the alleged offenses listed by Vadum:

Quite apart from the IRS, Benghazi, and AP scandals, Obama has a long record of abusing government power to harass those he perceives as political enemies and reward his allies. He lives and breathes corruption.

In 2011, he sent armed federal agents to raid Gibson Guitars in Memphis, Tenn., over specious environmental infractions. Obama's National Labor Relations Board targeted Boeing for daring to open a facility in right-to-work state South Carolina. Obama rigged the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy proceedings to unfairly enrich his friends in the United Auto Workers at the expense of higher-priority creditors such as bondholders and suppliers.

BP Oil Spill

“Not only could this be Obama's Katrina -- and it's not Katrina yet -- but it could also be Obama's Watergate. Clearly, the role of the federal government is to protect the consumer and after this explosion, they should have called a state of emergency.” Angela McGlowan, Fox News, 5/27/10

The Media Covering Up Obama's Liberalness

“Well, some of the really great analysis from a lot of journalists and commentators was, well, he's a liberal. Who knew? This is the biggest media coverup, this is their version of Watergate. They tried to portray him as a centrist, a man who not a blue state or a red state America, but the United States of America. A guy who could transcend all of the political divisions in Washington. Now they are saying after all this stuff you just mentioned, well, golly, I guess he really is a liberal after all. Who knew?” Cal Thomas, following President Obama's second Inauguration, 1/26/13 [via Nexis]

Obama's Immigration Policy Change

“I remember hearing Watergate spelled the end of the imperial presidency. 'That's what Watergate did. No more of these presidents thinking they're bigger than the Constitution, bigger than the law!' Well, what's more imperial than President Kardashian declaring an untold number of illegals legal?” Rush Limbaugh, 6/15/12

Joe Sestak “Bribe”

“The White House is facing a major scandal - one that threatens to bring down President Obama. It could be his Watergate.” Jeffrey Kuhner, The Washington Times5/27/10

“Obama's Watergate?”, 5/27/10

Fast And Furious

“This is not only a major scandal; it is a high crime that potentially reaches all the way to the White House, implicating senior officials. It is President Obama's Watergate.” Jeffrey Kuhner, Washington Times12/15/11

“Fast And Furious Scandal: A Watergate For Obama?” Investor's Business Daily7/13/11

Obama's Birth Certificate

“Why does the press protect him? Is this another Watergate?” Donald Trump, 5/30/12

“But as we learned in Watergate, sometimes the cover-up is worse than the crime itself. I now believe Obama and other government officials in Washington and Hawaii have been engaged in just such a cover-up - one that could make Watergate pale by comparison.” Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily, 5/8/11


“Solyndra Scandal Looks More and More Like Obama's Watergate.”'s Big Government, 9/16/11

Arrest Of Former Obama Campaign State Staffer

“Much like Watergate, which began with a seemingly simple (if puzzling) burglary and ultimately unraveled the Nixon administration, it is impossible to say how far the trail of criminality will go if the Edwards case is pursued aggressively. Will that happen? I don't know; stay tuned.” John Hinderaker, Powerline, 1/21/12

Media Matters

“Is Media Matters Obama's Watergate?” Jeffrey Lord, The American Spectator2/21/12