U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Herschensohn held a news conference Monday to complain that a Los Angeles Times headline implied he had a role in the Watergate burglary that toppled the Nixon presidency 20 years ago.
Herschensohn, who was an aide to former President Richard M. Nixon during the Watergate years, said the implication was "highly destructive" because it comes as he campaigns for the six-year Senate seat being vacated by Alan Cranston. Herschensohn's opponent is Rep. Barbara Boxer (D-Greenbrae).
The headline in Sunday's editions, "Memos Show Herschensohn Watergate Role," accompanied an article on memos that Herschensohn wrote during the Watergate era aimed at strategies to boost Nixon's beleaguered image.
"Watergate has an aura to it, a feeling to it among the American people, and for it to be said that I had a 'Watergate role' is simply inaccurate and terribly destructive," Herschensohn, who continues to count himself among Nixon's staunchest supporters, told reporters.
A spokeswoman for The Times said the article clearly did not imply that Herschensohn participated in Watergate crimes. "As is clear from the headline, the sub-headline and the article, Mr. Herschensohn wrote memos suggesting political-survival strategies for President Nixon during the governmental crisis growing out of the Watergate break-in, cover-up and subsequent investigations," the spokeswoman said.
"Those memos are part of Mr. Herschensohn's public record, and no wrongdoing on Mr. Herschensohn's part was implied, as the story made specifically clear."