Friday, September 12, 2008

Vero Beach: Former Watergate figure is amused by Ira Hatch affair

By Russ Lemmon
August 17, 2008

Indian River County is the bizarre political world where Ira Hatch and Watergate intersect.

On Saturday I wrote about a Watergate figure, Al Baldwin, whose name was attached to the recent "Indian River County Election News" — a paid political advertisement that was unabashedly supportive of the Indian River Neighborhood Association.

Baldwin was the "shadow man" in the original Watergate break-in. He was never charged or convicted in relation to the scandal that ensued. Watergate, of course, is synonymous with the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.

Baldwin, now 72, moved to Vero Beach five years ago. He is a former Marine captain, FBI agent and assistant state attorney in Connecticut.

To his credit, he didn't dodge my question about his role in Watergate.

When told his name was being used to discredit the IRNA, just as disbarred attorney Ira Hatch's name is being used to discredit Common Ground, Baldwin showed he has a sense of humor about Watergate.

"At least I have some campaign experience that goes a little bit higher than local," he said. "It doesn't faze me one single bit. There are more important things in life."

Like battling cancer. That has been his top priority since mid-July.

Baldwin says his cancer — in both the neck and prostate — has been diagnosed as incurable.

"When I get up and see the blue sky, it means I have another day to live," he said. "The goal of every cancer survivor is to have another day to live."

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