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Last month, we all laughed at long-haired nerdy little teenage MC Rove talking to Dan Rather in 1972 about how much he loved Richard Nixon. Of course, while we were laughing, Karl was fucking shit up.

In a TimesSelect column today, David Greenberg spins the story behind that adorable YouTube clip. Karl was learning directly from Sensei Atwater and the Guru Segretti, and he famously snuck into an opponent’s headquarters to send out fake mailers on Democratic stationery. And there were a couple other charming hijinks:

In my own research on Nixon, I discovered that during Watergate itself, Rove used a phony grassroots organization to try to rally Americans to the president’s defense against what he called “the lynch-mob atmosphere created” by “the Nixon-hating media.” And according to Nixon’s former counsel John Dean, the Watergate prosecutor’s office took an interest in Rove’s underhanded activities before deciding “they had bigger fish to fry.”

This may be the greatest missed opportunity of the Watergate hearings. Had they stopped MC Rove in 1972, Karl might now be another Christian platitude-spouting fringe author/speaker or embarrassing reality television game show contestant. And because they didn’t act, we’ll have to wait another year-and-a-half to see that happen.

In Nixon’s Tricks, Rove’s Roots and a Blueprint for Bush [TimesSelect]

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