In a Surprise, E&P Voters Pick Rehnquist as ‘Deep Throat’

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By: Greg Mitchell

Here comes the judge! The results in the world?s first (that we know of) poll/contest on guessing the identity of Watergate legend ?Deep Throat? are in. Hundreds of entries poured in from journalists and casual readers, each offering a name and sometimes a reason why their man or woman will eventually go down in history as the most famous source ever.

And, in a surprise, the winner is: Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

No doubt some voters were influenced by recent (and unconfirmed) reports that Deep Throat is ailing. Rehnquist was a smoker — a key, if minor, Deep Throat clue — and had worked for Watergate-implicated Attorney General John Mitchell before ascending to the Supreme Court in January 1972.

Watergate reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein have promised to name the source after he passes away. E&P will award a prize of a free subscription to the first person who submitted to us the name of the eventual hero.

Here are the results:

Rehnquist: 13%
Mark Felt: 8%
Fred Fielding: 7%
Henry Kissinger: 7%
L. Patrick Gray: 6%
George H. W. Bush: 4%
Alexander Haig: 4%
Diane Sawyer: 4%
Ben Stein: 4%
Gerald R. Ford: 3%
Pat Buchanan: 3%
Alexander Butterfield: 3%
Leonard Garment: 3%
Bob Dole: 2%
Pope John Paul II: 2%

Others who drew a smattering of support: William Safire, G. Gordon Liddy, Earl Silbert, William Safire, David Gergen, James Schlesinger, Linda Lovelace, Williams Ruckelshaus, Richard M. Nixon (?he was so self-destructive?), Pat Nixon, James Schlesinger, Steve Bull, Richard Kleindienst, William Casey, Robert Thomas, John Dean, E. Howard Hunt, and “No One (Woodward and Bernstein made him up).”

In coming days, we will divulge the reasoning offered for some of the picks, but here’s more on Rehnquist.

Barry Sussman of The Washington Post has suggested that Throat seemed anti-Nixon but very protective of Mitchell. “I have always thought Deep Throat was someone in the Justice Department who may have had warm feelings for Mitchell,” Sussman once declared. “Possibly there was a sense of ‘kinship,’ a desire to ‘draw a line’ at some point in the Post’s coverage.”

In addition, one reader inorms us, that “seven of the eight clandestine meetings Woodward describes between himself & Deep Throat in the book ‘All The President’s Men’ took place on weekends, presumably a time when Rehnquist’s duties to the Court would not interfere. Not only that, but the somewhat cryptic, elliptical, low-key style of speaking that Woodward attributes to Deep Throat in the book (and so memorably recreated in the movie by Hal Holbrook) eerily mirrors the manner in which Rehnquist speaks in real life.

“Woodward, incidentally, had unprecedented access to the Supreme Court for his book, ‘The Brethren.'”

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