Former Speaker Featured at Presidential Conference Center

By: Meredith Stancik
By: Meredith Stancik

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III was the honorary speaker Tuesday at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center.

Secretary Baker presented remarks as part of the Lenore & Francis Humphrys International Speakers Program.

The majority of Baker's speech was dedicated to his newly released memoir, "Work Hard, Study and Keep out of Politics! Adventures and Lessons from an unexpected Public Life."
The book was published in October 2006 and focuses on Baker's life in politics.

He served in senior government positions under three United States presidents.
He was the nation's 61st Secretary of State from January 1989 through August 1992 under President George Bush.

Baker served as the 67th Secretary of the Treasury from 1985 to 1988 under President Ronald Reagan.
As treasury secretary, he was also chairman of the President's Economic Policy Council.

From 1981 to 1985, he served as White House chief of staff to President Reagan.
Baker's record of public service began in 1975 as under secretary of commerce to President Gerald Ford.
It concluded with his service as White House chief of staff and senior counselor to President Bush from August 1992 to January 1993.

Since March 2006, Mr. Baker and former U.S. Congressman Lee H. Hamilton have served as co-chairs of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan blue-ribbon panel examining a forward-looking approach to Iraq.

During a question and answer session following the former secretary's speech Tuesday, several attendees asked about Baker's role in the Iraq Study Group.

When asked about the war in Iraq, Baker said it would not be wise for the United States to pull troops out now.

"If we do that Iraq will fragment into a broad base civil war and you will have a failed state within which Al-Qaida can grow and prosper and plan further attacks on the United States and western interests," Baker said. "Don't think they're not committed to doing that, because they are."

Mr. Baker is presently a senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts.
He is Honorary Chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and serves on the board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Tuesday's speaking event was sponsored by the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation.
The purpose of the program is to bring to public attention relevant international issues that face the United States and to provide a dialogue in search of solutions for the promotion of world peace and stability.


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