Tennessee's first popularly-elected Republican senator, Howard H. Baker Jr. served as vice chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee. His position as investigator of the Nixon administration's misdeeds may have been a bit awkward -- his 1972 campaign literature described him as a "close friend and trusted advisor of our President, Richard M. Nixon." During the committee's proceedings, he captured the essence of the committee's inquiry with a succinct question that became a Washington mantra: "What did the president know, and when did he know it?"
Baker had a successful political career, serving three terms in the U.S. Senate from 1967-85, with stints as minority leader (1977-81) and as majority leader (1981-85). He was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984. He also served as chief of staff for President Ronald Reagan in 1987-88. After retiring, Baker worked for several law firms. His first wife, Joy Dirksen Baker, daughter of powerful Illinois Sen. Everett McKinley Dirksen, died in 1993. In 1996, he married former Kansas senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum. He served as U.S. ambassador to Japan from 2001 to 2005.
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