James Addison III Baker


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(b. Houston, Texas, 28 Apr. 1930)

US; Secretary of the Treasury 1985–8, Secretary of State 1989–92 From a wealthy Texas family, Baker was educated at Princeton University and practised law in Houston, Texas. He became involved in Republican politics in Texas and was a close associate of George Bush. In 1976 he was campaign manager for Gerald Ford's re-election campaign and in 1980 he managed Bush's campaign for the Republican nomination for President. He served as White House Chief of Staff in President Reagan's first term, 1981–5. In Reagan's second term, he served as Secretary of the Treasury, 1985–8. In 1988 he managed Bush's successful campaign for President and served as Secretary of State in the Bush administration, 1989–92. In 1992 he resigned as Secretary of State to manage Bush's unsuccessful campaign for re-election.

Baker was a shrewd political operator who was particularly attentive to winning congressional support for any initiative. He was a distinguished and successful Secretary of State, especially with regard to his relations with his Soviet counterpart, Eduard Shevardnadze, during the climactic years of the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Had Bush won re-election in 1992, Baker had ambitions to succeed him as President in 1996. With Bush's defeat, however, Baker's political fortunes faded and he returned to law practice in Houston.

Subjects: Politics.

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