“Howard H. Baker Jr., a soft-spoken Tennessee lawyer who served three terms in the Senate and became known as ‘the great conciliator’ in his eight years as the chamber’s Republican leader, died on Thursday at his home in Huntsville, Tenn,” as the New York Times is reporting. “He was 88.
“His death was announced on the Senate floor by the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who called him ‘one of the Senate’s most towering figures.’
“Mr. Baker found his greatest fame in the summer of 1973, when he was the ranking Republican on the special Senate committee that investigated wrongdoing of the Nixon White House in the Watergate affair.
“In televised hearings that riveted the nation, he repeatedly asked the question on the minds of millions of Americans: ‘What did the president know, and when did he know it?’
“The question, or variations on it, became a national catchphrase.
“Mr. Baker described his political philosophy as ‘moderate to moderate conservative.’ Friendly and unfailingly courteous, he was popular with lawmakers in both parties, a kind of figure almost unrecognizable on Capitol Hill today.”
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