The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on November 28, 1968 · Page 96
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 96

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, November 28, 1968
Page 96
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Page 96 article text (OCR)

S - Mall Section, Thursday, Nov. 28, 1968 Nixon Campaign Strategist Joins New Brain Trust greatest." a top strategist said. "He has the most brilliant political mind I've encountered anywhere." Chotiner must have had some emotional moments as he watched the man with whom his career has been linked finally win the ultimate victory. Misty-eyed and almost unnoticed, he stood in the crowd of reporters surrounding Herbert Klein, Nixon's press aide, dur ing the final victory briefing. From now on, whether be operates in the limelight or behind the scenes, it's a safe bet Murray Chotiner will remain close to Richard Nixon. was one ot a handtul of top strategists in the command post a few steps from Nixon's 35th floor suite in New York's Waldorf Astoria. Approaches to the area were barred by Secret Service, private security guards, and the New York City police. Chotiner was interviewed there on his role in Nixon's presidential drive. At 59, he is stocky and soft-spoken with a clear outdoorsv complexion. He has thinning dark hair and alert brown eyes. "John Mitchell (Nixon's campaign manager) divided up the country into areas," Chotiner said. "I acted as liaison between national head- WASHINGTON (NANA) -Among the new faces in the president-elect's inner circle is one old one from the crisis-ridden past. Murray M. Choti-ner, political strategist and confidant of Richard M. Nixon for two decades, once called the "gray eminence" behind Nixon's early political rise, is back on the team. After dropping from the political limelight in 1956 following a clash with Senate investigators, Chotiner re-appeared last August as a key brain-truster shortly after Nixon won the Republican nomination at Miami Beach. On election night the wealthy California attorney ARGUS Super 8 MOVIE CAMERAS & PROJECTORS Make Fines! Christmas Gifts! NEW! NEW! DUALMASTER PROJECTOR 815 K ZOOM REFLEX CAMERA Chotiner has been with Nixon in moments of glory and despair. He helped Nixon decide whether to accept second spot on the 1952 GOP ticket with Dwight Eisenhower and was on hand during the subsequent ruckus over Nixon's "fund." He worked with Nixon on the famous "checkers" television address. In 1962 he urged Nixon to run for the California governorship, a race he was to lose. On the subject of campaign ethics, Chotiner once said, "I believe it is a smear to attack an individual on matters that have no relationship whatsoever to the campaign. If you attack his personal life, members of his family, or things that do not concern the question of whether that man would make a good public official, that is a smear. But it is not a smear if you point out the record of your opponent." Currently Chotiner practices law in Newport Beach, not far from Los Angeles. His friendship with Nixon has continued. Inside the Nixon staff Chotiner is respected and admired. "Murray is one of the fnlilin "flif irif" fbri Hh Itn rifUl Automatic rl to-rl film threading 400 H. capacity . , , Sharp fIJ tens ungla tvf control for forward, ttiH, and rtvt'tt 500 watt brillwiKO room light oullft, tlt cond.tiontd . . 1 Ii I FI.l mm Int. likiiU tin ran Hi iltclrk yt . . . Ii ikun "iitwiriM" DUAL-ZOOM OUTFIT Cleaners and Launders port developed between the two men and Chotiner became Nixon's closest political associate and campaign adviser. That relationship lasted until 1956 when Chotiner's name figured in congressional investigation of influence-peddling. "The Beverly Hills lawyer's emergence as a national political figure was followed, as it is for most lawyer-politicians, by an influx of clients from beyond his state's borders. One of Chotiner's new clients was a Philadelphia racketeer. Another was a clothing manufacturer accused of cheating the armed services. A third was a relatively small airline with an important case pending before a government agency. Nixon was in no way involved in Chotiner's private operations, but he was embarrassed. Chotiner became a political exile." A key figure in the hearings of the permanent Senate investigations subcommittee looking into Chotiner's affairs in 1956 was young Robert Kennedy, then staff counsel, who was to become attorney general and U.S. senator before his assassination in June, 1968. In 1956 Chotiner also sued "Behind the Scene" magazine for $1,250,000 for a story titled "Nixon's Secret Link to the Underworld," purporting to link Chotiner with the underworld. The libel suit was settled out of court and the magazine, in a full-page open letter of apology to Vice President Nixon and Chotiner, admitted the story was "false and without foundation." Four years later, in the absence of any adverse charges from the Senate committee as a result of its 1956 hearings, Chotiner pronounced himself "vindicated and exonerated" and tagged the probe a "red herring." In 1960 he ran unsuccessfully for Congress. If he advised Nixon in his presidential effort against John Kennedy that year, it was confidential. quarters and certain states, plus doing special projects." Chotiner's area covered more than one-fourth of the nation and was easily the most crucial to a Nixon victory. It included the big electoral-vote states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and California. Other states in Chotiner's bailiwick were Indiana, Missouri, Delaware, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas. As Chotiner spoke, Mitchell watched a triple bank of television sets. Richard Klein-dienst, Peter Flanagan, and Fred LaRue, other key strategists, checked party leaders around the country. California Lt. Gov. Robert Finch, perhaps Nixon's closest friend, was in and out of the room. Kleindienst managed Barry Goldwater's unsuccessful 1964 presidential try and this year worked the Mountain States for Nixon, Chotiner said. La-Rue, a former Mississippi national committeeman, took the South. Flanagan, a top Nixon aide in 1960, handled the remaining Eastern states. Chotiner is a native of Pittsburgh who moved to California as a child, attended the University of California at Los Angeles, and graduated from Southwestern University law school. His ties to Nixon date back to 1946 when he counseled the young Whittier attorney in his first House race. Earlier, beginning with Earl Warren's election as governor, Chotiner had executed an impressive run of GOP triumphs. He was to remain Nixon's chief strategist through his Senate race against Mrs. Helen Gahagan Douglas, which stirred controversy about Nixon's tactics, and his 1952 vice presidential campaign. 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