Ex-White House Chief of Staff Howard Baker dies at age 88

Former Senator and White House Chief of Staff Howard H. Baker, Jr. (File) (Junko Kimura, Getty Images)
Former Senator and White House Chief of Staff Howard H. Baker, Jr. (File) (Junko Kimura, Getty Images)
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Updated: 6/26 2:14 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker Jr., perhaps the most oft-repeated question from the entire Watergate scandal, has died at the age of 88.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander confirmed Baker's death in a news release Thursday.

Baker, a Republican, served 18 years in the Senate. He earned the respect of Republicans and Democrats alike and rose to the post of majority leader. 

Baker served for 16 months as the White House chief of staff at the end of the Reagan administration, replacing Donald Regan, and was U.S. ambassador to Japan during President George W. Bush's first term.

His question at the 1973 Senate Watergate hearings — "What did the president know and when did he know it?" — has since become one of the most oft-replayed soundbites of the scandal. It instantly focused the nation's attention on the cover-up that, more than the Watergate break-in itself, ultimately brought down Nixon's presidency.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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