Watergate cannot be compared to Hillary Clinton's email scandal because "it's not the same as destroying 33,000 emails that are under congressional subpoena," actor and author Ben Stein tells Newsmax TV.
"If Nixon destroyed 33,000 emails under congressional subpoena, they would've hanged him," Stein says of former President Richard Nixon. "It's nothing even remotely in that league. Not even remotely."
Stein, 71, who was a Nixon speechwriter, is host of the Newsmax TV special "Ben Stein Presents The Nixon Library" that airs on Newsmax TV on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.
The economist and political commentator serves as a personal tour guide for an exclusive look at the sprawling Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif., where the 37th president was born in 1913 and spent his childhood.
Nixon died in 1994 at age 81 and is buried at the library beside his wife, Pat, who passed 10 months earlier.
Known for his roles in "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off" and "The Wonder Years," Stein shares his memories of Nixon and his complex political career.
"Nixon had nothing to do with ordering the break-in," Stein says of the breach of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel in June 1972. "He tried to help cover it up.
"He didn't do a very good job at it. Then, the media piled on him. The media always hated him."
More than two years later, in August 1974, Nixon resigned. He announced his decision the previous night from the Oval Office.
"I was here in this room when this happened — and it was heart-rending. It was the saddest of sad moments," Stein says.
"Nixon's farewell to the White House. You cannot imagine what a heartbreaking moment that was."
Reflecting on the 1960 presidential election, Stein tells Newsmax TV that "it was clearly stolen from him" by Sen. John F. Kennedy. "There's no doubt about it.
"The Democratic machine in Illinois just made up all kinds of ballots and gave them to Kennedy.
"Nixon should've won Illinois — and Kennedy won, and that decided the election," Stein says. "But Nixon should have won it had there not been this hanky-panky.
"Nixon could've contested it the way the Democrats contested the 2000 election," he adds, referring to Vice President Al Gore's loss to Texas Gov. George W. Bush. "They didn't contest it because he did not want to tear the country apart.
"He did this very, very generous thing of just conceding and not contesting the election."
Overall, Stein describes Nixon's "essence" using the former president's own words.
"He used to say, 'My goal is to create a lasting structure of peace.' Or, sometimes, he would say 'a generation of peace.'
"We all thought: 'Oh, it's just a slogan. It's just a purchase to help him get elected.'
"He meant it. He really wanted a generation of peace. He really wanted a lasting structure of peace.
"The war in Vietnam ended in '74 in a bad way, but it ended in '74," Stein says. "That would soon be 42 years ago.
"It's been 42 years without any kind of substantial war that the U.S. has been in. Every war in which an American dies is a tragedy.
"That's an incredible contribution," he tells Newsmax TV. "If that were Richard Nixon's only contribution, it would be an overwhelmingly great contribution."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.