Vignettes from Nancy Reagan's life

LOS ANGELES -- Those who worked with former US President Ronald Reagan say Nancy Reagan was intelligent and loyal to her husband.

See Full Article

As first lady, Mrs. Reagan was a trusted adviser and held backstage power in the Reagan administration, which began in 1981.

After the presidency, she was a caregiver during Reagan's battle with Alzheimer's and a protector of his legacy after his death.

Mrs. Reagan died Sunday in Los Angeles. She was 94.

Here's a look at the personal side of Mrs. Reagan:

------

FIERCE INTELLIGENCE

Martin Anderson, domestic policy adviser in Reagan's 1980 campaign and his first term in the White House, wrote in his book, "Revolution":

"Nancy Reagan was an important and active participant in virtually all the important discussions that took place during the campaign. She was highly intelligent, with a sixth sense for asking insightful, penetrating questions. Above all, her judgments on public policy issues, political strategy, and personnel were superb ... Reagan recognized a good mind when he encountered one, and he consulted her constantly on just about everything. On the other hand, he would never hesitate to overrule her counsel, although he seldom did so because she was usually right."

------

PRESIDENTIAL AIDE

Political scientist Richard Neustadt in his book "Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents:"

"The aide in charge of warning him (Reagan) when threats appeared against his public standing or historical appeal ... that special staff role, of immense importance to someone habitually incurious about detail, had been assigned his wife. More precisely, she had made it hers since Sacramento."

"But when it came to people, her reported targets seem well chosen, aim unerring and timing right for someone who must wait for someone else to pull the trigger."

------

ASKING QUESTIONS

James Kuhn, Reagan's second-term executive assistant, credited Nancy Reagan with much of her husband's success but said she was hard to please and "could ask questions that there were no answers to."

For example, she would demand details of the weather in whatever place the Reagans were going, Kuhn said in an interview made as part of a University of Virginia oral history project on the Reagan years.

"And she'd say: 'Rain. Why is it raining? Why is it raining in Cleveland?"' Kuhn related.

"I'd say, 'Well, I guess there's a low pressure system that came in.'

"'Well, why?'

"I'd think, 'Oh, God, I'm getting in deeper here."'

------

UNFORGETTABLE MEETING

Nancy Reagan recounted one of the lighter moments of White House life at a 1994 George Washington University gathering on the role of first ladies.

It happened, she said, at a meeting "with this lady who we were trying to convince to do something for the White House."

"I had on a blouse and a wraparound skirt. And she got up to leave, and I got up to shake hands with her. ... The skirt is down at my ankles and I'm standing there in my pantyhose and my blouse," she recalled to gales of laughter.

"I don't know whether we ever got the money from the lady, but I said to her, 'I'm sure this is a meeting you're never going to forget."'

------

COPING WITH ALZHEIMER'S

By 1999, Nancy Reagan had been trying to cope with her husband's Alzheimer's diagnosis for five years, and she was asked in a C-Span interview what she had learned.

"That it is probably the worst disease you can ever have," she replied. "Because you lose contact and you're not able to share. In our case, to share all of those wonderful memories that we have."

Asked what she did when her husband didn't recognize visitors, she replied: "Well, now we don't have visitors ... we never let that happen."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Most bidders who snapped up 'creepy' High River estate homes have backed out [Photos]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    It's been dubbed the creepiest neighbourhood in the world, and despite furious bidding wars over two dozen flood impacted estate homes in High River, most of the vacant properties won't be leaving anytime soon. Last week, the deadline imposed by the province passed for bidders who successfully won the 26 properties up for public auction to commit to moving them, leaving 18 of them, all in the formerly high-end neighbourhood of Beachwood Estates, with nowhere to go. Source
  • Combustible cladding could be on 600 highrise buildings in England: PM

    World News CBC News
    The British prime minister estimates 600 highrise buildings in England have cladding made of materials similar to what was found in a devastating west London fire. Theresa May told the House of Commons that authorities submitted cladding on similar buildings following the Grenfell Tower fire on June 14 that killed at least 79 people. Source
  • Prince Philip released from hospital

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON — Prince Philip was discharged Thursday from a London hospital after he was treated for an infection, Buckingham Palace said. Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, was admitted to the King Edward VII Hospital on Tuesday as a precautionary measure after he fell ill with an infection related to an existing health condition that wasn’t made public. Source
  • University of Toronto gets ready for graduation ceremony today for black students

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - Organizers of a graduation ceremony for black students at Canada's largest university say the event is meant to acknowledge the barriers that remain for people of colour pursuing academia. The ceremony is being held Thursday at the University of Toronto after two students took it upon themselves to organize the event for black students completing degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Source
  • Prince Harry says nobody wants to be king or queen

    World News CBC News
    Prince Harry said no one in Britain's royal family wants to be king or queen and criticised a decision to force him to parade behind his mother Princess Diana's coffin after her death in 1997, according to an interview with a U.S. Source
  • Four more arrests linked to Brussels rail station attack

    World News CBC News
    Belgian authorities said Thursday that police detained four people in a series of raids in Brussels linked to the failed bombing at a rail station this week by a man reportedly shouting "Allahu akbar." The federal prosecutor's office said that the four were picked up during searches in the Molenbeek neighborhood, as well as in Anderlecht and Koekelberg. Source
  • Suicide car bombing in Afghanistan kills at least 15

    World News CBC News
    A local police chief in Afghanistan says a suicide car bombing targeted Afghan soldiers lining up outside a bank in southern Helmand province, killing at least 15 people. Provincial police chief Gen. Agha Noor Kentoz says the attacker struck on Thursday in Lashkargah, the provincial capital. Source
  • Suicide car bombing in Afghanistan kills 29

    World News CBC News
    The governor of Afghanistan's Helmand province says a suicide bombing outside a bank has killed 29 people, most of them civilians. Provincial police chief Gen. Agha Noor Kentoz says the attacker struck on Thursday in Lashkargah, the provincial capital. Source
  • Talks with Pentagon over 'interim' fighter jets continue despite Boeing snub

    Canada News CBC News
    Talks with the Pentagon about filling the Canadian air force's short-term need for jet fighters remain on track, said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. Those negotiations for a so-called "interim capability" continue despite the Liberal government making a very public display at the Paris Air Show this week of snubbing Boeing executives. Source