WASHINGTON — Former Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr. returned to Capitol Hill today as President Reagan's chief of staff, paying courtesy calls on leaders and trying, with his presence, to signal a more cordial tone between the White House and Congress.
"What I'm doing today is what I think I owe to the Congress and to the (House) Speaker and subsequently today to the Senate side--that is to come up and pay my respects and show also my cooperation with the Congress in trying to move the country on a sound set of public policies," Baker said as he posed for photographers with House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Tex.).
A Former Leader
Baker, a former majority and minority leader of the Senate, also was meeting separately with House Republican leader Robert H. Michel of Illinois, Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole of Kansas.
Hours before Reagan was scheduled to deliver a nationally broadcast speech giving his side of the Iran- contra affair, Baker was setting an upbeat mood during his meetings with the legislators.