Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cancer Claims H.R. Haldeman, Top Nixon Aide

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cancer Claims H.R. Haldeman, Top Nixon Aide

Article excerpt

H.R. "Bob" Haldeman, President Richard M. Nixon's fiercely protective chief of staff who was imprisoned for helping cover up the Watergate break-in, died Friday (Nov. 12, 1993). He was 67.

Mr. Haldeman died of abdominal cancer at his home overlooking the Pacific Ocean. His son Hank said Mr. Haldeman had been ill for only a month.

Nixon said he was saddened by the news.

"Ever since he joined my vice presidential staff as a young advance man in the 1956 election, I have known Bob Haldeman to be a man of rare intelligence, strength, integrity and courage," Nixon said in a statement.

"As my White House chief of staff, he played an indispensable role in turbulent times as our administration undertook a broad range of initiatives at home and abroad."

The Watergate scandal began on June 17, 1972, when men working for Nixon's re-election committee broke into the Democratic Party headquarters in Washington's Watergate complex.

Six days after the break-in, Mr. Haldeman suggested to Nixon that an FBI investigation was coming too close be derailed. They then plotted to use the CIA to throw the FBI off the scent.

The tape recording of that conversation became the so-called smoking gun that forced Nixon from office. On Aug. 9, 1974, four days after the tape became public, Nixon resigned.

Mr. Haldeman also was found to be the keeper of a $350,000 slush fund that was used to pay the living expenses of some of the Watergate burglars.

When Nixon's counsel, John Dean, threatened to go to Watergate investigators, Mr. Haldeman told him that "it's tough to put the toothpaste back into the tube once it's out."

Mr. Haldeman, Nixon's top aide, was convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI and a federal grand jury. He was sentenced to a 2 1/2- to eight-year term by U.S. District Judge John J. Sirica. Mr. Haldeman served 18 months.

Mr. Haldeman had been in advertising when he met Nixon in the 1950s and became one of the earliest and most trusted of Nixon's campaign aides.

"I am not a politician," he said once. "I had no real interest in politics and no participation, until I volunteered for a Nixon campaign. …

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