Baker first entered politics in 1970, working for George H. W. Bush's U.S. senatorial campaign—a contest that Bush did not win. Beginning in 1975, Baker spent a year as undersecretary of commerce in President Gerald Ford's administration. Baker then managed Ford's unsuccessful 1976 presidential campaign. After managing Bush's unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980, Baker became a senior advisor to President Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign after Bush withdrew from the race.
From 1981 until 1985, Baker served as White House chief of staff. In 1984, he successfully engineered Reagan's reelection campaign. Reagan subsequently appointed him secretary of the treasury in 1985. In 1988, Baker managed Vice President Bush's presidential campaign and was rewarded by being appointed secretary of state in 1989. In that role, Baker helped reorient U.S. foreign policy as the Cold War ended. He was involved in negotiations that led to the reunification of Germany and the dismantling of the Soviet Union. He also presided over negotiations before and after the Persian Gulf War. In 1992, Bush named Baker White House chief of staff and manager of his reelection campaign, which Bush lost.
After leaving government service in 1993, Baker joined the Houston-based law firm of Baker Botts and become senior counselor to The Carlyle Group, a corporate banking firm in Washington, D.C. In 2000, he served as President-elect George W. Bush's transition advisor during the controversial Florida ballot recount. Beginning in March 2006 Baker co-chaired, along with Democrat Lee Hamilton, the ten-person bipartisan Iraq Study Group, charged with recommending changes to deal with the deteriorating situation in the Iraq War. The group presented its report to President George W. Bush and Congress in early December 2006.
John David Rausch Jr.
Hurst, Steven. Foreign Policy of the Bush Administration: In Search of a New World Order. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 1999.