Presidential Campaign and Candidates


Howard Baker for President 1980 Campaign Brochure

Howard Baker for President 1980 Campaign Brochure

‘Some Baker plain talk...


Q.         Why are you running for President?


A.         Because the country needs tough, honest, experienced leadership. We need some straightforward answers, plainly stated and easily understood. I think we've lost our national purpose -- and I think I can get us back on course.


Q.         What can be done about inflation?


A.         Restrain government spending, balance the federal budget, enact a production-oriented energy policy, provide incentives to increase savings, capital investment and productivity, and cut out excessive government regulations.


Q          Everybody says that. How do you make it happen?


A.         You have to know Washington to change Washington. You have to know Congress to deal with it effectively and get it to respond to Presidential initiatives. You have to know how to bring people together, how to reconcile special interests with the common interest. You need the courage to make a decision because it's right -- not because it's popular -- and the determination to stick with that decision.


Q.         What would you do about our energy crisis?


A.         America needs to produce its way out of the crisis with incentives for maximum domestic production of oil, gas, coal, solar, and as much nuclear energy as we can safely produce. We need a comprehensive program of voluntary conservation and a major new investment in research and development for the fuels of the future.


Q.         Is the United States slipping in the world?


A.         Yes, and it's time we did something about it. We need to put our economic house in order at home to strengthen our dollar and improve our trade position abroad. We need to find our backbone again in foreign affairs. We need to strengthen our national defense, reject a SALT treaty that would place us at a strategic disadvantage and stop Russian adventurism in Cuba or anywhere else. We need vigorous leadership that is prepared to define and defend America's vital interests in the world.


Q.         Can America still afford to be compassionate?


A.         We can't afford not to be. America's older citizens, for example, have earned a stable and solvent Social Security system and a stable, noninflationary economy. America's young people -- the living future of our country -- must have the best education, the best employment training, the best of everything we can give them. All Americans need relief from high taxes and high energy prices, and protection against the staggering cost of catastrophic illness. The less fortunate need a fair chance to work, to provide for themselves and contribute to a growing national economy. We need a new partnership for progress that would enlist all segments of our society -- rather than relying on government bureaucracy and government money to solve all our social and economic problems for us.


Q. What do you have that other Republican candidates don't?


A. Electability. of the three major contenders, I'm the only one who has won public office in the last eight years -- two overwhelming elections to the Senate from Tennessee in 1972 and 1978, and two elections as Republican Leader of the Senate, the first by one vote, the second unanimously.


I've won broad, bi-partisan support in heavily Democratic Tennessee, and recent national polls show I've extended that appeal among Democrats and independents to the national electorate.


I can also bring unity to the national Republican Party as I have united Senate Republicans on issue after issue in the past three years.


And I bring a detailed, comprehensive grasp of major national issues to my candidacy -- and the expertise to deal with them effectively which only comes with active, day-to-day national leadership.

Q.         What kind of leadership qualities would you bring to the White House?


A.         I see the Presidency not as one job, but three -- and each of them demands strong leadership.


The President is chief of state -- symbolic head of the country, embodiment of the national will, with a "bully pulpit" from which to rally the nation to action, to sacrifice, to greatness.


The President is chief executive officer of the Federal Government, responsible for the efficient management of the Executive Branch, and serving as a strong check and balance -- and inspiration -- for the Congress. Too many recent Presidents have let this role submerge the other two; they've become "yellow-pad Presidents," slaves to administrative detail.


The President is head of his party -- the number-one politician in America. I'm not ashamed to be a politician. I'm proud to be a life-long Republican. As President, I intend to build the Republican Party, strengthen it at every level, and make it the majority party in America in the 1980's.


Baker at a glance.


Howard Baker was born in 1925 in Huntsville, Tennessee, near the Kentucky border. He attended the University of the South and Tulane University before receiving his law degree from the University of Tennessee. Baker was president of the University of Tennessee student body in 1949, after serving in the Navy in World War II.


In 1950, he managed the first of his father's seven successful campaigns for Congress and for the next 16 years was an attorney and businessman in Huntsville and Knoxville


In 1966, Baker became the first Republican ever popularly elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee. He was reelected by overwhelming margins in 1972 and 1978. In 1977, Baker was elected Republican Leader of the Senate, and was reelected unanimously in 1979.


Baker is married to the former Joy Dirksen, daughter of the late Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen of Illinois. The Bakers have two children: Darek 26 and Cissy 23.


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