Meese, Edwin, 3d, 1931-, American public official, b. Oakland, Calif. As a deputy district attorney of Alameda co., he was a tough prosecutor with little toleration for radical protest. As a result, Gov. Ronald Reagan appointed him secretary of legal affairs. Meese served as counselor to President Reagan (1981-85) before becoming Attorney General (1985-88). As Attorney General he strongly criticized liberal Supreme Court rulings for straying from the "original intent" of the founders. Questions concerning his finances and his handling of the Iran-contra affair led to his resignation in 1988. He later was (2006) a member of the Iraq Study Group.
McCain, John Sidney, 3d, 1936-, U.S. politician, b. Panama Canal Zone. A much decorated navy veteran, he was born into a career naval family and attended the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating in 1958. He became a pilot and during the Vietnam War was shot down over Hanoi (1967) and captured; he was released in 1973. Retiring as a highly decorated captain in 1981, he was elected (1982) as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona and served two terms. In 1986 he first won election to the U.S. Senate. A personally appealing leader with generally conservative views, he is noted for his bluff honesty, quick wit, and outspoken manner. McCain has been particularly active in attempting to forge a bipartisan coalition for campaign-finance reform and, in 2005, for banning cruel and inhuman treatment of any prisoner in U.S. custody. He has chaired the Senate committee on Indian affairs (1995-97, 2005-7) and on commerce, science, and transportation (1995-2001, 2003-5). McCain was an unsuccessful candidate for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, losing in the primaries to George W. Bush. In 2007-8, however, he mounted a successful campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. He chose the conservative Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, but they lost to Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden. McCain has written several books on history's great leaders, e.g., Hard Call (2007).

See his memoirs, Faith of My Fathers (2000) and Worth the Fighting For (2002); E. Drew, Citizen McCain (2002); P. Alexander, Man of the People (2002).

Smoot, George Fitzgerald, 3d, 1945-, American astrophysicist, b. Jacksonville, Fl., Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1970. Smoot has been a professor at the Univ. of California, Berkeley since 1971. He and John Mather shared the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery and characterization of small temperature variations in the cosmic microwave background radiation that fills space. Made with the assistance of NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite, their measurements provided support for the big-bang theory of the birth of the universe (see cosmology), shedding new light on the origin of galaxies and stars. Smoot, who oversaw one of COBE's instruments, had the main responsibility for measuring the variations. Since COBE, he has continued to work on the microwave background radiation.
Baker, James Addison, 3d, 1930-, U.S. political leader, b. Houston, Tex. After graduating from Princeton, he served in the U.S. Marines and earned a law degree from the Univ. of Texas. A successful corporate lawyer, he switched from the Democratic to the Republican party in 1970 and served (1975-76) as undersecretary of commerce during Gerald Ford's administration. Baker was campaign manager for Ford in his unsuccessful bid for a second term in 1976 and for George H. W. Bush in his unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980. Under President Ronald Reagan, Baker served as chief of staff (1981-85) and as secretary of the treasury (1985-88). He helped secure passage of the Kemp-Roth tax cut. In 1988 he managed G. H. W. Bush's successful presidential campaign. As secretary of state (1989-92) in Bush's administration, Baker negotiated arms reduction treaties with the Soviet Union, lent U.S. support to Germany's reunification, marshaled international opposition to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait (1990; see Persian Gulf Wars), and convened (1991) a Middle East peace conference that involved Israel, several Arab countries, and the Palestinians. In 1992, he resigned to become White House chief of staff again, with responsibility for domestic policy and for overseeing the unsuccessful Bush reelection campaign.

Baker later returned to law practice, and served (1997-2004) as UN envoy to the parties in the Western Sahara conflict. He also directed George W. Bush's legal efforts with respect to the contested 2000 presidential vote in Florida, and was appointed President G. W. Bush's personal envoy, charged with restructuring Iraq's national debt, in late 2003. In 2006 he co-chaired the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan panel established by Congress to review and make recommendations on U.S. policy concerning Iraq. Baker has written The Politics of Diplomacy (1995, with T. M. DeFrank) and "Work Hard, Study … and Keep Out of Politics" (2006, with S. Fiffer), a memoir.

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