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THE REAGAN LEGACY

Where are they now?

June 07, 2004

A look at some memorable figures from President Reagan's two terms in office.

Inner circle

James A. Baker III: Although Baker chaired George H.W. Bush's unsuccessful campaign for the 1980 GOP presidential nomination, Reagan named him White House chief of staff during the first term and Treasury secretary in the second term. When Bush was elected president in 1988, Baker became his secretary of State. A senior partner at Baker Botts LLP, a Texas-based international law firm, Baker undertook an Iraqi debt relief mission for President George W. Bush last year.

Edwin Meese III: Meese served as Reagan's chief of staff in the governor's office in Sacramento, campaign advisor in 1980 and White House counselor in the first term. As attorney general in 1986, Meese revealed that proceeds from arms sales to Iranian moderates had been diverted to Nicaraguan Contras, the rebels seeking to overthrow a leftist government, in violation of a congressional funding ban. He resigned during a 1988 investigation of illegal lobbying by a defense contractor, although he was never charged with wrongdoing. Meese is now a public policy scholar with the Heritage Foundation in Washington and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Michael K. Deaver: A confidant of Nancy Reagan, he was communications strategist and deputy chief of staff in Reagan's first term. Deaver joined Reagan in the mid-1960s as liaison from the governor's office to Nancy Reagan; when the Reagans reached the White House, his job was to present the president in the best possible light, and many of his techniques are practiced today. In 1985, Deaver opened a communications firm but became involved in a 1988 lobbying scandal and was convicted of perjury. He now heads the Washington office of Edelman, a public relations firm, and has written several books about the Reagans.

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Spokesman

James S. Brady: Only two months after fulfilling his dream of becoming White House spokesman, Brady was shot in the head by John Hinckley in the March 30, 1981, assassination attempt on Reagan. Brady remained White House press secretary until the end of the administration, although the severity of his injuries made him unable to function as spokesman. In 1993, President Clinton signed the Brady bill -- named in his honor -- requiring background checks and a waiting period for handgun purchases. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and has spent the last two decades at a Washington mental hospital.

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Foreign policy and national security

Alexander M. Haig: The retired four-star Army general served as Reagan's first secretary of State. His hopes of becoming the chief architect of foreign policy were thwarted by infighting and his own missteps. During an appearance in the White House press office the day Reagan was shot, Haig misstated his place in the line of succession, declaring, "I am in control here in the White House" pending the return of Vice President Bush from a trip. Haig now heads his own international corporate consulting firm.

George P. Shultz: Shultz replaced Haig as secretary of State in 1982 and served through the end of the administration, carrying out Reagan's nuclear arms control agenda in negotiations with the Soviet Union. An economist with a long career of government service, he was a stabilizing force during the Iran-Contra scandal. Shultz is a senior scholar at the Hoover Institution and advised California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger during the recall campaign.

Oliver North: The Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and National Security Council aide was the operations chief of the Iran-Contra scheme, which was devised as an attempt to gain the release of U.S. hostages in Lebanon. He was convicted of misleading Congress and other violations, but the charges were overturned on appeal. North now works as a radio commentator and author, and was a war correspondent for Fox News in Iraq.

John M. Poindexter: As national security advisor, the Navy rear admiral was the highest- ranking White House official to sign off on the financing scheme for the Contras. Like North, he was convicted of obstructing Congress and other charges; his conviction was overturned on appeal. Poindexter later became a civilian employee of DARPA, the Pentagon's advanced research agency and ran into controversy last year with a project -- canceled shortly after it was publicized -- that attempted to forecast terrorist activity by creating a futures market in which investors would effectively bet on the likelihood of attacks.

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