Robert T. Hartmann

Robert Hartmann
Counselor to the President
In office
August 9, 1974  January 20, 1977
President Gerald Ford
Preceded by Anne Armstrong
Dean Burch
Kenneth Rush
Succeeded by Edwin Meese (1981)
Chief of Staff to the Vice President
In office
December 3, 1973  August 9, 1974
Vice President Gerald Ford
Preceded by Arthur Sohmer
Succeeded by Ann C. Whitman
Personal details
Born Robert Trowbridge Hartmann[1]
(1917-04-08)April 8, 1917
Rapid City, South Dakota, U.S.
Died April 11, 2008(2008-04-11) (aged 91)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Roberta Sankey
Education Stanford University (BA)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1941–1945 (Active)
1945–1977 (Reserve)
Rank Captain
Battles/wars World War II

Robert Trowbridge Hartmann (April 8, 1917 – April 11, 2008) was an American political advisor, speechwriter and reporter, who served as Chief of Staff for Vice President Gerald Ford and Counselor to the President when Ford was elevated to the presidency in 1974.

Early life and career

Hartmann was born April 8, 1917, in Rapid City, South Dakota, the only child of Miner Louis and Elizabeth Trowbridge Hartmann. His father was a chemical engineer and a patent lawyer.[2] Hartmann grew up in Upstate New York and Southern California.

He joined the Los Angeles Times as a reporter in 1939, a year after graduating from Stanford University.[3]

During World War II, he worked in public relations and press censorship roles for the Navy in the Pacific. He retired from the Navy Reserve in 1977 with the rank of captain.

Resuming his career at the Times after the war, he was Washington bureau chief from 1954 to 1963 and finished his newspaper career the next year after opening the Rome bureau.

Early political career

After leaving the LA Times, Hartmann became an information adviser for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. In 1966, he went to work for the House Republican Conference as a press aide.

In 1969, Hartmann joined the staff of then-Minority Leader Gerald Ford as a Legislative Assistant, rising to become one of Ford's most trusted advisors.

Chief of Staff to the Vice President

After President Nixon nominated Gerald Ford to be Vice President on October 12, 1973, Hartmann coordinated Ford's preparations for the confirmation hearings on the nomination. He then became Vice President Ford's chief of staff. It soon became obvious that the burden of administrative matters—hiring staff, finding office space, etc. -- kept Hartmann from devoting sufficient time to speeches, political liaison, and advising the Vice President. Ford solved this problem by hiring L. William Seidman as an assistant for administration, which left Hartmann to advise Ford on political matters.[1]

Counselor to the President

When Gerald Ford succeeded to the presidency on August 9, 1974, he quickly named Hartmann as Counselor to the President, with Cabinet status. In this position, one of Hartmann's main responsibilities was supervision of the editorial Staff in the preparation of presidential speeches, statements, messages, and correspondence. He also handled White House liaison with Republican Party organizations and advised President Ford on a wide variety of matters that went beyond his formal duties.[1]

Hartmann drafted President Ford's address to the nation upon taking office, coining the phrase "long national nightmare" to describe the Watergate scandal and resignation of Nixon.[3]

Later life and career

After Ford left office, Hartmann served as a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at his alma mater Stanford, and a trustee of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation.[1]

In 1980, he wrote his autobiography, Palace Politics, focusing on his time at the White House.[4]


  1. 1 2 3 4,_Robert_-_Papers.asp
  2. DENNIS HEVESI (2008-04-19). "Robert Hartmann, 91, Dies; Wrote Ford's Noted Talk". Retrieved 2017-04-14.
  3. 1 2 "Robert T. Hartmann, 91; Wrote Key Ford Speech". 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2017-04-14.
  4. Palace politics: An inside account of the Ford years: Robert T. Hartmann: 9780070269514: Books. ASIN 0070269513.
Political offices
Preceded by
Anne Armstrong
Counselor to the President
Served alongside: Anne Armstrong, Dean Burch, Rogers Morton, John Marsh, Kenneth Rush
Title next held by
Edwin Meese
Preceded by
Dean Burch
Preceded by
Kenneth Rush
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.