Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full

Black, Conrad

Public Affairs, 2007

pp. 578 - 579

Nixon’s chief of staff was H. R. (Bob) Haldeman, a former advertising executive, who did what Nixon didn’t want to do—hire, fire, reprimand, reward. Nixon hated to confront, but he loved to have Haldeman confront anyone who needed confronting. If Nixon didn’t like how somebody was handling things, he’d sic Haldeman on them, “a brusque, unambiguous, brush-cutted guard dog, [who was] all efficiency and no subtlety.” Nixon would sometimes get carried away with the thought of all the havoc Haldeman could wreak and order him to fire trusted associates, “cut off all contact with great swaths of journalists, and shake up the entire federal government. Haldeman generally ignored these demands, and was very effective at giving no hint to the outside world of how irritated the president was much of the time.” Nixon loved the prestige of the Presidency, but “he carried into the presidency a great deal of resentment at previous slights and all his convictions of the hostility and malice of much of his own party, almost all the Democrats, and virtually all of the media.”