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H R Haldeman Biography


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Harry Robbins Haldeman (publicly known as H. R. Haldeman, and informally as Bob Haldeman) (October 27, 1926 – November 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 role in events leading to the Watergate first break-in and the Watergate scandal. In the popular press, Haldeman was sometimes erroneously identified as "H. Robert Haldeman." In the White House, he was nicknamed "The Brush" for his distinctive flattop haircut.

Haldeman was born in Los Angeles, California the son of socially prominent parents. His father, who founded and ran a successful heating and air conditioning supply company, gave time and financial support to local Republican causes, while mother Betty was a longtime volunteer with the Salvation Army and other philanthropic organizations. Young Bob and his siblings Tom and Betsy were raised in the Christian Science faith. Known to his peers as a "straight arrow," he sported his trademark flat-top haircut from his high school years, enjoyed discussions of ethics, and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He married his highschool girlfriend Jo (Joanne) Horton in 1949.

A World War II Naval Reserve veteran, Haldeman attended the University of Redlands, the University of Southern California and graduated from UCLA in 1948. It was at UCLA that he met 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 in both Los Angeles and New York City.

Richard Nixon and Haldeman first met in the 1950s. Haldeman served as an advance man in Nixon's 1956 Vice Presidential campaign and then as Chief of Advance Men in his unsuccessful 1960 presidential campaign. Haldeman then served as Campaign Manager in Nixon's 1962 California gubernatorial campaign, also unsuccessful. He joined Nixon's successful 1968 presidential campaign underway as Chief of Staff and was credited with presenting a revitalized Richard Nixon to the public, using the experience of his many years in advertising.

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 because of 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".

Haldeman was a key figure in the Watergate scandal. The unexplained 18 1/2 minute gap in Nixon's Oval Office recordings occurred during a discussion that included the President and Haldeman. After damaging 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. It has been reported in reports not verified by either Nixon or Haldeman that 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, Haldeman 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 suggested a CIA plot to cover-up various facts damaging to the agency, including issues related to the Kennedy assassination. Using this information, director Oliver Stone, in his 1995 film Nixon, speculated that the missing 18 1/2 minutes of tape may have contained a discussion concerning a cover-up of the Kennedy assassination. In The Ends of Power, Haldeman states that when Nixon asked him to inform the FBI that the Watergate investigation could 'open up the whole bay of pigs thing' as can be heard on the released tapes, Nixon was referring to the Kennedy assassination.[1]

Haldeman died of undisclosed causes, sometimes reported as abdominal cancer, at his home in Santa Barbara, California. His remains were cremated and scattered at a site that has not been revealed. He left behind his always loyal wife Jo and their four children - Susan, Harry (Hank), Peter, and Ann. Upon his death Nixon stated, "I have known Bob Haldeman to be a man of rare intelligence, strength, integrity and courage...."

Haldeman's White House diaries were released posthumously as The Haldeman Diaries in 1994.

Courtesy of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._R._Haldeman

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