(CNN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Sunday labeled President Barack Obama's claim of executive privilege over Operation Fast and Furious as "Nixonian," suggesting the scandal is worse than Watergate.
"You have a president who is using his executive privilege to keep that information from Congress. If that's not Nixonian, then I don't know what is," Perry said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
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The Republican governor and former presidential candidate portrayed the botched gun-running operation as more serious than the 1970s Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of former President Richard Nixon.
"We've had over 300 Mexican nationals killed directly attributable to this Fast and Furious operation, where they brought those guns into Mexico. A former Marine and a Border Patrol agent by the name of Brian Terry lost his life," Perry said. "With Watergate you had a second-rate burglary."
Obama asserted executive privilege last week over Justice Department documents surrounding the Fast and Furious probe by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The House is expected to vote next week to cite Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt of Congress.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives launched the operation out of Arizona to track weapon purchases by Mexican drug cartels. However, it lost track of more than 1,000 firearms that the agency had allowed straw buyers to carry across the border, and two of the lost weapons turned up at the scene of the 2010 killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
- CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.