Saturday, February 20, 2010
Alexander Haig, the four star Army general who served three Republican presidents, including a stint as secretary of state, died Saturday of complications from an infection. He was 85 and surrounded by family in his last hours.
Haig, who held top White House posts under presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, launched his own candidacy for president in 1988, but his campaign never took off and Republicans chose George H.W. Bush.
Fairly or not, he will be remembered for his over-reaching remark after the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, when, as secretary of state, he declared, "As of now, I am in control here in the White House, pending the return of the vice president." Haig later acknowledged he had used a poor choice of words and would have a hard time living down the line.
He sometimes came off as a taciturn, hard-nosed military man but he had a lighter side. During the run-up to one of his confirmation hearings in the 1980s, the late Sen. Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio, a political foe, presented him with a box of nails. Haig got the joke and laughed along with the senator.
The Associated Press, citing his family, said Haig died about 1:30 a.m. at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
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