Main | Saturday, February 20, 2010

Retired Gen. Alexander Haig Dies At 85

Former Nixon White House chief of staff General Alexander Haig died in a Baltimore hospital yesterday at the age of 85. Many credit/blame Haig with brokering the deal in which Nixon resigned the presidency in return for a pardon.
Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter sent the four-star general to Europe as supreme commander of NATO. Ronald Reagan made him secretary of state, resulting in a brief and stormy tenure in which he famously tried to assert command after the attempted assassination of the president. And Gen. Haig himself, a tall man with blue eyes who kept his chin-up military bearing long after he left the service, ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988. In a statement, President Obama said Gen. Haig "exemplified our finest warrior-diplomat tradition of those who dedicate their lives to public service." Gen. Haig's influence peaked in his late 40s during Nixon's last 16 months in office, when brewing developments in the Watergate scandal damaged and increasingly distracted the president. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger famously told Gen. Haig to keep the country together while he held the world together during one of the greatest constitutional crises in the nation's history. Special prosecutor Leon Jaworski, and many others, called Gen. Haig the "37 1/2 president."

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