The investigative journalist who helped uncover the Watergate scandal said Thursday that the fight over raising the federal debt limited was a contrived debate, manufactured “particularly by Republicans.”

“They’re going to take it to the cliff and pull back at the last minute, but the consequences of that are very dangerous,” Carl Bernstein said on MSNBC’s The Morning Joe. He added that the U.S. also needed to start trimming back entitlement programs and raise government revenues.

Pat Buchanan predictably defended Republicans, who are using the federal debt limit debate to push for budget cuts.

“The system in Washington is broken,” Bernstein added. “One of the three branches of government is dysfunctional — it doesn’t work any more. And as a result our country is in terrible trouble.”

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