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H. R. Haldeman

From Academic Kids

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H.R. Haldeman, January 21, 1971.

Harry Robbins ("Bob") Haldeman (October 27, 1926November 12, 1993) was a U.S. political aide and businessman, best known for his service as White House Chief of Staff to President Richard Nixon and for his subsequent role in the Watergate scandal.

Haldeman was born in Los Angeles, California the son of a prosperous plumbing contractor. An Eagle Scout and World War II Naval Reserve veteran he attended the University of Redlands, the University of Southern California and graduated from UCLA in 1948. It was at UCLA that he would meet his long time friend and later colleague in the Nixon White House, John Ehrlichman. After graduation he spent 20 years working for the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency.

Richard Nixon and Haldeman first met in the 1950s. He served as an advance man in Nixon's unsuccessful 1960 presidential campaign and 1962 California gubernatorial campaign. He took over as campaign manager for Nixon's successful 1968 presidential campaign. Calling on his many years in advertising he was credited with presenting a revitalized Richard Nixon to the public.

Nixon named Haldeman as his first White House Chief of Staff. Together with Ehrlichman they were called "The Berlin Wall" by other White House staffers given their penchant for keeping others away from Nixon and serving as his "gatekeepers". They became Nixon's most loyal and trusted aides during his presidency. Both were ruthless in protecting what they and Nixon saw as the president's best interests; Haldeman referred to himself as Nixon's "son of a bitch".

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Haldeman with Nixon, November 21, 1972.

Haldeman was a key figure in the Watergate scandal, and the unexplained 18 1/2 minute gap in Nixon's Oval Office recordings concealed a discussion that included the president and Haldeman. After damning testimony from White House Counsel John Dean, Nixon requested the resignations of Haldeman and Ehrlichman in what has been described as a long and emotional meeting at Camp David. Dean was fired and the resignations were announced on April 30, 1973. After Nixon announced the resignations Haldeman called Nixon and in an emotional exchange Nixon ended it by saying, "I love you, as you know.....like a brother".

On January 1, 1975, he was convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice and sentenced to an 18-month prison sentence, which he served in Lompoc Federal Prison. He went on to become a successful real estate developer and entrepreneur.

In 1978, he published The Ends of Power, in which he took responsibility for fostering the atmosphere in which Watergate flourished, a stark contrast from Ehrlichman who never forgave Nixon for not pardoning him. The book also alleged a CIA plot to cover-up facts related to the Kennedy Assassination. Using this information Oliver Stone speculated that the missing 18 1/2 minutes of tape contained a discussion concerning a cover-up of the Kennedy Assassination in Stone's 1995 film Nixon. His White House diaries were released posthumously as The Haldeman Diaries in 1994.

Haldeman died of abdominal cancer at his home in Santa Barbara, California. His remains were cremated and a burial site has never been revealed. Upon his death Nixon stated, "I have known Bob Haldeman to be a man of rare intelligence, strength, integrity and courage. . . ."

References


Preceded by:
Wilton Persons
White House Chief of Staff
1969–1973
Succeeded by:
Alexander Haig

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