There was White House aide John Ehrlichman on the phone one day in 1971, telling [John W. Dean III] that "Chuck Colson wants me to firebomb the Brookings [Institution]." Describing the incident Monday to several hundred presidential history junkies at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, Dean said he was dumbfounded.
In a Monday panel titled "The Participant Perspective," Dean captivated the audience with story after story about [Richard Nixon], his tapes and the motley retinue of aides who surrounded the president. As if he had been telling the president about some trivial change in his schedule, Dean recounted the day he told Nixon there was "a cancer on the presidency" -- the fateful phrase that became forever linked with the corruption of Watergate.
WATERGATE: Senate testimony by Dean, shown here in 1973, helped lead to President Nixon's resignation in 1974.; PHOTOGRAPHER: Associated Press; ON TAPE: Nixon aide John W. Dean III says the president is heard "saying, 'I want that break-in at the Brookings [Institution].' "; PHOTOGRAPHER: Associated Press