WASHINGTON - Gen Alexander Haig, who was White House chief of staff during the Watergate scandal and was secretary of state during the Reagan administration, died on Saturday. He was 85. He had been admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital on Jan 28, said Gary Stephenson, a hospital spokesman, and died there at approximately 1:30am. Haig was a rare American breed: a political general. His bids for the presidency quickly came undone. But his ambition to be president was thinly veiled, and that was his undoing. Haig sought the US presidency, but his bid for the Republican nomination ended in failure in 1988, a campaign noted for his acerbic taunting of other candidates including Vice President George H W Bush, the eventual nominee. Symbolically, the closest Haig came to being president was when he proclaimed to the media that Im in control here after an assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981. Critics called that statement, which seemed to incorrectly state the line of presidential succession, pompous and militaristic and used it against him later on the campaign trail. Haig secured a place in American history by holding the presidency together in 1974 during the months leading up to Richard Nixons resignation in the Watergate scandal. Telling friends that when your president asks, you do it, he had reluctantly resigned as Army vice chief of staff in May 1973 to take over the top White House staff job at a time when Nixons administration seemed to be drifting out of control. Haig emerged as one of the few respected hands untainted by the scandal and was widely credited with persuading Nixon to avoid a nasty and divisive battle over impeachment by becoming the first US president to resign. For many years, Haigs name was one often mentioned as being Deep Throat, the legendary Washington Post source who helped bring down Nixon. In 2005, former FBI official Mark Felt broke his silence and confirmed he was the mysterious source.