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James Baker: The Man Who Ran Washington
Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET
Peter Baker and Susan B. Glasser (Photo: Doug Mills)
Please Note: This program has a date update (originally October 19, 2020).
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- This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
- Platform: Zoom
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Delegate hunter, campaign manager, White House chief of staff, treasury secretary and secretary of state, James Addison Baker III played a leading role in some of the most critical junctures in modern American history. Washington’s indispensable man, for a quarter century every Republican president relied on him to manage their campaign, their White House, and their world. Baker brought them to power or helped them stay there, then steered them through the momentous events that followed.
He ran five presidential campaigns for three presidents and helped secure the Florida recount victory for a fourth. As White House chief of staff, he helped make Ronald Reagan a successful president. As treasury secretary, he rewrote the tax code from top to bottom in collaboration with leading Democrats. As secretary of state, he and his close friend George Bush managed the most tumultuous period in international politics since World War II, building the coalition that won the first Gulf War, helping to reunify Germany, and bringing the Cold War to a peaceful end. As a political consigliere in Florida, he helped put George W. Bush in the White House.
Drawing on their new book, The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III, Peter Baker, New York Times chief White House correspondent, and New Yorker staff writer Susan Glasser offer a case study in the acquisition, exercise, and preservation of power as seen through the career of one of the most significant and influential leaders in modern American government never to serve as president of the United States. Bob Schieffer, former anchor of CBS Evening News and former host of Face the Nation, moderates.
Copies of The Man Who Ran Washington (Doubleday) are available for purchase.
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This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.