Howard Baker

Howard Henry Baker, Jr. (* November 15, 1925 in Huntsville, Scott County, Tennessee ) is a former American politician. He was a U.S. Senator for the State of Tennessee and chief of staff of the White House.


Howard Baker was born in 1925 in Huntsville, the son of Howard Henry Baker, who in 1951 belonged to the House of Representatives of the United States until 1964, and Dora Ladd Baker. When he was eight years old, his mother and his grandmother Lillie Ladd Mauser died helped with his education and his younger sister. Three years later his father married Irene Bailey. Baker attended the McCallie School in Chattanooga, a military preparatory school in Huntsville elementary school and secondary school as well as from 1941. He completed this in 1943 and served until 1946 from the U.S. Navy. As a candidate of the V-12 officer training program of the Navy, he studied at the University of the South in Sewanee and later at Tulane University in New Orleans Electrical Engineering. During the semester break, he had to work in the Navy. After finishing his career in the Navy, he moved over to the Law and graduated in 1949 from the University of Tennessee his studies. In the same year he was admitted to the Bar Association in court and began working in a law firm that had been founded by his grandfather.

Political career

Minority Leader

In addition to his legal profession, he was also active in the economy. He was Chairman of the First National Bank of Oneida and President of Colonial Natural Gas Co. in Wytheville ( Virginia). Baker joined the Republican Party in 1964 and entered the first time to the public sphere, as it was to reoccupy the vacant seat of the late become Estes Kefauver in the Senate. He lost the election, however, against Ross Bass. In the Senate election two years later, however, Bass lost the Democratic primary against former Governor Frank G. Clement, who was again defeated at the Baker elections. Baker was confirmed twice in his office by re-election, and served until January 3, 1985. Between 1977 and 1981 he led the Republican faction in the Senate as Minority Leader to. In this especially foreign policy extremely important position he had always filled with views of the general responsibility and not in close partisan limiting his office, which earned him many enemies in his own party. Without his support President Jimmy Carter would never have achieved the necessary two-thirds majority for the Panama treaties. Hard but resists he had the Asian policy under Carter.


Baker also made ​​a name as a co-chairman of the Watergate Committee, which investigated the crimes of Watergate, as he advanced in week-long televised hearings into the media spotlight. The lawyer with the quiet voice but always remained factual. Baker became famous with a sentence he said in public, and which had been prepared by its consultant, later Senator Fred Thompson:

" What did the President know and when to did he know it? "

" What did the President and when he knew it? "

Majority Leader

In the 1980 presidential election, he announced his ambition to can be set up for election, but lost already in the primaries against Ronald Reagan. After the elections, the Republicans won after more than 25 years for the first time the majority in the Senate and Baker, after two terms Majority Leader of the Republican Party. In the following years, Baker was with the fraction in all the major issues behind the president, but the Senate also preserved its independence by the President refused allegiance to various questions. This mainly concerned issues of arms and the actions in Central America. In 1984, he did not strive for a re-election and resigned from the Senate in early 1985. In the same year he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Chief of Staff

In February 1987, Baker was offered the leadership of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, which he refused, however. In the same month, the report by former Senator Tower for the Iran-Contra affair was published in Washington, where Reagan a chaotic office management has been certified. As a result of these accusations his chief of staff Donald Regan had to go. On February 27, 1987 Howard Baker was appointed to succeed him, so he renounced simultaneously to a targeted originally presidential nomination in 1988.


From 2001 to 2005 Howard Baker was also United States Ambassador to Japan.


Howard Baker is married for the second time, this time with the daughter of a prominent Republican. His first wife, Joy Dirksen, he married in December 1951. She was the daughter of former Senator Everett Dirksen from Illinois, the Republican faction in the Senate under Kennedy and Johnson led ( Senate Minority Leader ). They had two children together, Darek and Cynthia Dirksen. After she had died of cancer, Baker married in December 1996, the former Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum of Kansas, daughter of the former governor of Kansas and presidential candidate in the 1936 election, Alf Landon.