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Howard Henry Baker Jr.: A Featured Biography


Howard Baker, Jr. by Herbert Elmer Abrams

Howard Baker, Jr. of Tennessee served 18 years in the Senate, from 1967 to 1985, becoming the Republican floor leader in 1977. He is perhaps best known for his role as vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities—the Watergate Committee—where he pointedly asked, "What did the President know and when did he know it?" As Republican leader, Baker worked with Democratic leader Robert Byrd to skillfully manage the contentious debate over the Panama Canal treaties in 1978. He retired from the Senate in 1985 to become White House chief of staff for President Ronald Reagan. In 1998, Baker delivered one of the "Leader's Lectures," recalling his years as party leader. When the Senate established a Leadership Portrait Collection in 1999, it was Baker’s portrait by Herbert Abrams that started the collection.