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Alexander Haig

Military Leader / U.S. Secretary of State

Born: 2 December 1924
Died: 20 February 2010 (complications from an infection)
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Best known as: Four-star general and U.S. Secretary of State, 1981-82

Name at birth: Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr.

Al Haig graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1947, served in Europe and Asia until 1960, worked in Washington until a combat tour in Vietnam in 1966-67, and then returned to Washington in 1969 to work in the White House for Henry Kissinger. After President Richard Nixon's top aides resigned during the Watergate scandal in 1973, Haig served as White House Chief of Staff until after Nixon's resignation in 1974. Haig also served as NATO commander (1974-79), and in 1981 he became Ronald Reagan's secretary of state. Haig abruptly resigned in 1982, reportedly over policy disagreements. In 1988 he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in the U.S. presidential election.

Extra credit: Haig long was rumored to have been Deep Throat, the inside source for the Washington Post as the paper exposed the Nixon cover-up of the Watergate break-in... Before they started making fun of George W. Bush's speech, wiseacres poked fun at Haig for his inventive syntax and frequent "Haigisms." For example, he once said "That's not a lie. It is a terminological inexactitude"... In 1981 President Reagan was injured during a failed assassination attempt and Haig famously blundered on TV, appearing to claim constitutional authority by saying "As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending the return of the Vice President and in close touch with him." (This is often shortened to simply "I am in control here" when the tale is retold.) In fact, the order of succession places the secretary of state below the vice president, the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate.

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