Pinback button satirizing President Richard Nixon and the Watergate break-in scandal, 1974. Horn Co., Philadelphia, for Political Rights Defense Fund, New York. Features caricature of a shifty-eyed Nixon branded INOPERATIVE.
This classic button parodies the White House's fumbled attempts at damage control as the Watergate scandal unraveled the Nixon presidency. Press Secretary Ron Ziegler, struggling to rectify statements made by Nixon with contradictory information emerging from the investigation, infamously declared those statements to be "inoperative" -- rather than untrue. This creative use of language, far from quelling the scandal, only increased suspicions that the crimes of Watergate had been orchestrated, and later covered up, by officials at the highest levels.