Early Returns in ‘Deep Throat’ Contest: Rehnquist Takes the Lead!

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By: Greg Mitchell

As so often in the past, the press once again is feeding a Deep Throat frenzy, apparently set off by the opening of the Woodward and Bernstein archives on Watergate at the University of Texas last week.

The mania shows no sign of abating, with the chattering classes still chattering over John Dean’s op-ed for Sunday’s Los Angeles Times, which suggested that (a) Deep Throat is ailing, perhaps near death, and (b) former Washington Post helmsman Ben Bradlee has written his obituary, neither of which could be confirmed, of course.

It did inspire many, however, to morbidly ponder who among the many suspects might be seriously ill. Long ago, Dean, who was closer to the White House crime scene than most, proposed four likely candidates. At least one of them, Pat Buchanan, seemed fit as a fiddle at last look.

Meanwhile, the author of the 1993 biography of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, ?Deep Truth,? has named George H.W. Bush as the new chief suspect.

But plenty of others still have their advocates, including Fred Fielding, John Sears, L. Patrick Gray (the original front runner), Leonard Garment, William Safire, Dwight Chapin, Ray Price, Alexander Haig, David Gergen, Mark Felt, Lowell Weicker, and the ever popular No One (he was a Woodward-Bernstein composite).

Keith Olbermann of MSNBC asked Dean last night if it might be Hal Holbrook, the actor who played Deep Throat in the movie “All the President’s Men.” Dean replied that Woodward once said that Holbrook did an excellent impersonation: the chain-smoking, the angry attitude, and all the rest.

Coincidentally, a major mainstream documentary, “Inside Deep Throat,” about the early ’70s porno film, will be released to theaters this Friday. It does not promise to name the Watergate source.

Here at E&P, we thought we’d join in the fun, since Deep Throat, whoever or whatever it is, is the most famous journalistic source in history. Send us your pick for the most likely candidate (to: letters@editorandpublisher.com), and we will tabulate the results. We will also award a free subscription to whoever is first to submit the correct name — assuming, that is, we ever learn who he/she/it is.

In the early returns, based on dozens of submissions, the clear frontrunner is (ailing) Chief Justice Willam Rehnquist. Mark Felt holds second, and (ailing) President Ford is in third. Other interesting picks include: Ben Stein, Bill Casey, Leonard Garment, Henry Kissinger, G. Gordon Liddy, Earl Silbert, Steven Bull, Fred Fielding’s secretary, and Richard M. Nixon himself (“he was so self-destructive”).

Keep them coming.

Note: Contest rules specify that Woodward, Bernstein, and Bradlee are not eligible to enter.

There is no truth to the rumor that E&P is pondering for our next contest, “What is Jeff Gannon’s Real Name?”

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