Lloyd Cutler (search), who served as White House counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton, died Sunday at his home in Washington. He was 87.

Anne Jordan, a family friend, said Cutler had been sick for quite a while and had been suffering complications from a broken hip.

In a statement, President Bush said: "Laura and I are saddened by the passing of Lloyd Cutler. Lloyd Cutler served our nation with dedication and distinction throughout his extraordinary career. ... He was a devoted public servant who had a profound influence on the legal profession."

In 1962 Cutler co-founded Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (search), one of Washington's leading law firms.

He joined the Carter White House in 1979 and advised the president on the Iran hostage crisis and the SALT II arms treaty (search) with the Soviet Union.

In 1994 Clinton asked Cutler to help salvage the White House's credibility amid allegations that the staff meddled in the Whitewater inquiry (search). Cutler — who agreed to serve for just 130 working days, the limit for a special government employee — was praised for his defense of Clinton and his aides during the Whitewater hearings before Congress.

"He's been solid, wise, with excellent legal judgment and political judgment and strong communications skills," George Stephanopoulos (search), who was Clinton's senior White House adviser, said at the time. "He really put a solid center in the counsel's office."

John Podesta, White House chief of staff during the Clinton administration, said Sunday: "Lloyd was just a giant in the legal community. In a town split by partisanship, he had enormous credibility and respect on both sides of the aisle. We'll miss him; he was a good guy."

Cutler served frequently on Washington commissions, most recently President Bush's commission investigating flawed intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Cutler stepped down from the commission in July, citing personal reasons.

Cutler was born in New York City in 1917. He graduated from Yale University in 1936, then from Yale Law School in 1939.

He is survived by his wife, Polly Kraft, three daughters and a son.