Ronald Reagan

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Posted by r2d2 03/01/2009 @ 05:01

Tags : ronald reagan, former us presidents, government, politics

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Bidens Bring A Sense of Home to USS Reagan - FOXNews
Knowing all too well the anguish that military families can endure, the "Second Family" of the United States evoked a personal passion in their greetings Thursday to the men and women of the USS Ronald Reagan. As the crew stood at attention,...
VP Biden Addresses Crew of USS Ronald Reagan - KPBS
By Katie Orr SAN DIEGO — Vice President Joe Biden appeared at Naval Air Station North Island today spoke to the sailors of the USS Ronald Reagan. KPBS report Katie Orr was there and has the story. The Vice President took the opportunity to voice the...
Pakistan's 'Daily Show' Diplomacy - New York Times
After dismissing the Taliban as “a nuisance,” he then went on to explain who was to blame for the fact that Pakistan does not now control all of Pakistan: Ronald Reagan. Near the start of the interview (which is embedded below), Mr. Haqqani said: What...
Not-So-Bright Right - New York Times
In his short, calm essay Posner traces the rise of the conservative movement from the 1960s to its “electoral success with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1981″ to its apogee with, among other markers Posner lists, the end of the Cold War,...
Republican Predictable Stages of Defeat - KCTribune.com
Bush that year was the beneficiary of Ronald Reagan's eight years, during which the Gipper appealed to and enlisted the nation's youngest voters into the GOP. Now listen as Pew Research's respected Andrew Kohut compares those results from 20 years ago...
'Clintonomics': Obama Draws on Clinton's Reagan Roots - NewsMax.com
Political scientist and author Dr. Jack Godwin tells Newsmax that Bill Clinton was a fiscal conservative rather than a liberal and shared many more of Ronald Reagan's views on economics than is generally believed. Godwin, author of the new book...
Reagan signed pact against torture - Greenville News
Amazing to think that the great icon of the Republican Party — Ronald Reagan — could be judged too soft and liberal for today's GOP. When he signed the UN Convention against Torture back in 1988 he stated that ratification would “...demonstrate...
Pope decries Israel-Palestine wall, calls both sides to show courage - USA Today
Gibson himself likens Benedict's remarks to Ronald Reagan in Berlin, telling the USSR, "Tear down this wall." Towering over us, as we gather here this afternoon, is a stark reminder of the stalemate that relations between Israelis and Palestinians seem...
Ohio elections spat involves Turkish history - The Associated Press
Ted Strickland recognized the killings as genocide in 2007, and former President Ronald Reagan did so in 1981. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, contending the toll has been inflated and the casualties were victims of civil war....
The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War - UNC Chapell Hill
James Mann's The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan is a refreshingly balanced look at President Reagan's role in the events leading to the end of the Cold War. Through interviews, dissection of declassified documents and Reagan's public papers,...

Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home

Dixon Il Reagan Boyhood Home1.jpg

The Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home is the house located at 816 South Hennepin Street, Dixon, Illinois, in which the late former President of the United States Ronald Reagan lived as a youth beginning in 1920. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

The Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home was constructed in Dixon, Illinois in 1891; its design is fairly typical of American houses during the time period. The house's original owners were William C. and Susan Thompson, the home was eventually sold in 1917. The home's most significant period was between 1920 and 1923 when Jack and Nelle Reagan lived in the house with their sons Neil and Ronald. During the period the house was occupied by the Reagans it was owned by John and Teresa Donovan. In 1952 the house was again sold and between 1975 and 1977 it changed hands twice. In August 1980 a group of local residents, led by Lynn Knights of Dixon, Illinois. The group was then known as the Reagan Home Preservation and Restoration Committee.

The home is open to the public and operated by the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home Foundation. On February 6, 2002, (Public Law 137-107), the United States Secretary of the Interior was authorized to purchase the property from the foundation and establish a U.S. National Historic Site under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service (NPS). The law specifies that the site will not be designated as the "Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site" until after the Department of Interior acquires the property.

The legislation that became Public Law 137-107 was pushed through Congress by then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert over objections that the bill be delayed while the National Park Service conducted a study of the site. In 2003 the Department of Interior contracted private appraisals of the property which valued it at $420,000. The appraisal was millions of dollars below the amount sought as fair value for the house by the owners, the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home Preservation Foundation. In late February 2003 the Reagan Boyhood Home Preservation Foundation formally rejected the government offer of $420,000 to turn the property into a National Historic Site, calling it insulting.

The 1891 house is cast in the popular Queen Anne style. The 2 story house rests on a stone foundation and is topped with a gable roof which was originally covered with cedar shingles.

The Reagan Boyhood Home is most significant as the home of the Reagan family, ergo, the home of 40th U.S. President Ronald Reagan from late 1920 until 1923. Reagan was nine years old at the time and in grade school. Though the family moved from the house they remained in Dixon throughout the formative years of the former president. For its association with Reagan and significance in the area of politics and government the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 26, 1982.

According to the National Register of Historic Places documentation, Ronald Reagan has stated that the house was associated with important events of his childhood. However, his brother Neal has been quoted as saying that the house designated the Boyhood Home is the "wrong one for Ronald's principal memories of the town (Dixon)." One author, James E. Combs, called Dixon's claim that the "Boyhood Home" is the actual boyhood home of Ronald Reagan a bit bogus considering the Reagans moved often and only lived in the house for about two years.

While they lived in the home the Reagan brothers shared a second-floor bedroom, despite the house having three bedrooms. Ronald's mother used the third as a work room. The lone outbuilding on the property was used by the brothers for such activities as raising rabbits. In the house's side yard Ronald and his brother would participate in pick-up football games.

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Presidency of Ronald Reagan

Presidency of Ronald Reagan

The United States Presidency of Ronald Reagan, also known as the Reagan Administration, was a Republican administration headed by Ronald Reagan from January 20, 1981 to January 20, 1989. Reagan was the first US president since Dwight D. Eisenhower to be re-elected and serve two complete terms in office.

Domestically, the administration favored reducing government programs and introduced the largest across-the-board tax cuts in American history. The economic policies enacted in 1981, known as "Reaganomics," were an example of supply-side economics. Reagan aimed to encourage entrepreneurship and limit the growth of social spending, as well as to reduce regulation and inflation. Economic growth saw a strong recovery in the 1980s, helping Reagan to win a landslide re-election. The national debt increased significantly, however.

Regarding foreign policy, the administration was steadfastly anti-communist, calling the Soviet Union an "evil empire" and ending 1970s détente. Reagan ordered a massive buildup of the military, including an intervention in Grenada, the first overseas action by US troops since the end of the Vietnam War. The "Reagan Doctrine" controversially granted aid to paramilitary forces seeking to overthrow socialist governments, particularly in war-torn Central America and Afghanistan. Reagan also promoted new technologies such as missile defense systems in order to confront the Soviets and their allies. In diplomacy, Reagan forged a strong alliance with UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and he met with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev four times, aiming to shrink the superpowers' nuclear arsenals.

Reagan's presidency is sometimes called the "Reagan Revolution," as it was seen to cause a political realignment both within and beyond the US in favor of his brand of American conservatism and free markets. The Reagan administration is often credited with the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War after his departure from office, leading to a unipolar world with the US as the world's sole superpower. While the damaging Iran-Contra affair engulfed several administration officials during his second term, Reagan himself left office with a 64% approval rating, one of the higher approval ratings of departing presidents. The Reagan administration's actions and its ideology remain widely debated, even as there is agreement over its influence on US politics and global events in the decades since.

His first act as president was to issue an executive order ending certain price controls on domestic oil, which had contributed to the 1973 Oil Crisis and the 1979 Energy Crisis. The price of oil subsequently dropped, and the 1980s did not see the gasoline lines and fuel shortages that the 1970s had.

Reagan focused his first months in office on two goals, tax cuts and military spending, which was viewed as a successful way to tackle issues and echoed by later presidential advisers. Reagan's economic policies, similar to supply-side economics and dubbed "Reaganomics," achieved a 25% cut in the federal personal income tax, moderate deregulation and tax reform, which he believed would remove barriers to efficient economic activity. After a sharp recession, a long period of high economic growth without significant inflation ensued.

Despite Reagan's stated desire to cut spending, federal spending grew during his administration. However, economist Milton Friedman pointed out that non-defense spending as a percentage of national income stabilized throughout Reagan's term, breaking a long upward trend; the number of new regulations added each year dramatically decreased as well.

One of Reagan's most controversial early moves was to fire most of the nation's air traffic controllers who took part in an illegal strike. Reagan strengthened Social Security to make it solvent longer by cutting disability benefits, and survivor benefits, and by increasing the FICA payroll withholding tax. He also took tough positions against crime, declared a renewed war on drugs, but was criticized for being slow to respond to the AIDS epidemic.

In foreign affairs, Reagan initially rejected détente and directly confronted the Soviet Union through a policy of "peace through strength," including increased military spending, firm foreign policies against the USSR and, in what came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine, support for anti-communist rebel movements in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Nicaragua and elsewhere. Reagan later negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, a reformer, and together they contributed greatly to a peaceful end of the Cold War.

Reagan authorized military action in Lebanon, Grenada, and Libya throughout his terms in office. It was later discovered that the Administration also engaged in covert arms sales to Iran in order to fund anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua. The resulting Iran-Contra Affair became a scandal to which Reagan professed ignorance. A significant number of officials in the Reagan Administration were either convicted or forced to resign as a result of the scandal.

By the end of the Reagan presidency, a high level of public approval (64% of the nation) indicated that the administration had recovered its image among the American public due to the perceived restoration of America's power, prosperity and national pride.

Reagan vetoed 78 bills during his two terms in office.

On March 30, 1981, only 69 days into the new administration, Reagan, his press secretary James Brady, Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty, and Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy were struck by gunfire from a deranged would-be assassin, John Hinckley, Jr.. Reagan was exiting the Washington Hilton Hotel following a speech to the building trades conference of the AFL/CIO when six shots were fired from a roped off area for bystanders. Reagan was pushed into the waiting limousine by Secret Service agent Jerry Parr. Parr described doing what he had learned in his training: "I heard these six shots, actually fired in less than two seconds, and that starts the action for an agent and you simply cover, first, and evacuate." Parr directed the chauffeur to drive to George Washington University Hospital where the president was brought into the emergency room and subsequently operated on. Missing his heart by less than an inch, the bullet instead pierced his left lung, which likely saved his life. Reagan's condition in the hospital room was critical, as his heartbeat was faint and he had a very low blood pressure. Doctor Joseph Giordano, head of the Reagan trauma team, described the president as being "close to death." In the operating room, the bullet which had entered under his left armpit was removed, but Reagan was left with a collapsed lung. After the surgery, the president joked to the surgeons, "I hope you're all Republicans!" Though they were not, Dr. Giordano replied, "Today, Mr. President, we're all Republicans." First Lady Nancy Reagan arrived at the hospital before her husband went into surgery; Reagan famously told her, "Honey, I forgot to duck" (using defeated boxer Jack Dempsey's quip). Reagan was released from the hospital on April 12, and was escorted back to the White House by Mrs. Reagan and their daughter Patti.

During his Presidency, Ronald Reagan pursued policies that reflected his optimism in individual freedom, expanded the American economy, and contributed to the end of the Cold War. The "Reagan Revolution", as it came to be known, aimed to reinvigorate American morale, and reduce the people's reliance upon government. As President, Reagan kept a series of leather bound diaries, in which he talked about daily occurrences of his presidency, commented on current issues around the world (expressing his point of view on most of them), and frequently mentioned his wife, Nancy. The diaries were recently published into the bestselling book, The Reagan Diaries.

As a politician and as President, Ronald Reagan portrayed himself as being a conservative, anti-communist, in favor of tax cuts, in favor of smaller government (with the exclusion of the military), and in favor of removing regulations on corporations. Ronald Reagan is credited with increasing spending on national defense and diplomacy which contributed to the end of the Cold War, deploying U.S. Pershing II missiles in West Germany in response to the Soviet stationing of SS-20 missiles near Europe, negotiating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) to substantially reduce nuclear arms and initiating negotiations with the Soviet Union for the treaty that would later be known as START I, proposing the Strategic Defense Initiative, a controversial plan to develop a missile defense system, re-appointing monetarists Paul Volcker and (later) Alan Greenspan to be chairmen of the Federal Reserve, ending the high inflation that damaged the economy under his predecessors Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, lowering tax rates significantly (under Reagan, the top personal tax bracket dropped from 70% to 28% in 7 years ) and leading a major reform of the tax system, providing arms and other support to anti-communist groups such as the Contras and the mujahideen, selling arms to foreign allies such as Taiwan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq (see Iran–Iraq War), greatly escalating the "war on drugs" with his policies and Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign, ordering the April 14, 1986 bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi in retaliation for an April 5 bombing of a West Berlin nightclub frequented by U.S. servicemen, in which the Libyan government was deemed complicit, and signing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 which compensated victims of the Japanese American Internment during World War II.

During this time, five controversies developed which resulted in a number of administration staffers being convicted of crimes or misdemeanors. The most well-known was the Iran-Contra affair.

When an administration staff member leaves office, federal law governs how quickly one can begin a lobbying career.

The Environmental Protection Agency Scandal arose when it was discovered that the administration was releasing Superfund grants for cleaning up local toxic waste sites to enhance the election prospects of local officials aligned with the Republican Party.

Reagan's "elimination of loopholes" in the tax code included the elimination of the "passive loss" provisions that subsidized rental housing. Because this was removed retroactively, it bankrupted many real estate developments made with this tax break as a premise. This with some other "deregulation" policies ultimately led to the largest political and financial scandal in U.S. history: The Savings and Loan crisis. The ultimate cost of the crisis is estimated to have totaled around USD$150 billion, about $125 billion of which was consequently and directly subsidized by the U.S. government, which contributed to the large budget deficits of the early 1990s.

Although Reagan's second term was mostly noteworthy for matters related to foreign affairs, he supported significant pieces of legislation on domestic matters. In 1982, Reagan signed legislation reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for another 25 years, even though he had opposed such an extension during the 1980 campaign. This extension added protections for blind, disabled, and illiterate voters.

Other significant legislation included the overhaul of the Internal Revenue Code in 1986, as well as the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 which compensated victims of the Japanese-American internment during World War II. As well as those, Reagan signed legislation authorizing the death penalty for offenses involving murder in the context of large-scale drug trafficking; wholesale reinstatement of the federal death penalty did not occur until the presidency of Bill Clinton.

Reagan's position on gay rights has been a subject of controversy. In the late 1970s he wrote a private response to the organization backing the California Briggs Initiative, stating that he opposed the proposed ban on gay public school teachers or anyone who supported gay rights. He opposed efforts to repeal the criminal laws against homosexuality and generally opposed gay rights legislation as eroding traditional moral values. Yet his daughter, Patti Davis, wrote in article in the New York Times where she recalled her father talking about Rock Hudson's homosexuality in an accepting and tolerant manner.

As Reagan was the oldest person to be inaugurated as president (age 69), and also the oldest person to hold the office (age 77), his health, although generally good, became a concern at times during his presidency. His age even became a topic of concern during his re-election campaign. In a debate on October 21, 1984 between Reagan and his opponent Walter Mondale, panelist Henry Trewhitt brought up how President Kennedy had to go for days on end without sleep during the Cuban Missile crisis. He then asked the President if he had any doubts about if or how he could function in a time of crisis, given his age. Reagan remarked, "I am not going to make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience," generating applause and laughter from the audience. Mondale (who was 56 at the time) said years later in an interview that he knew at that moment he had lost the election.

Former White House correspondent Lesley Stahl later wrote that she and other reporters noticed what might have been early symptoms of Reagan's later Alzheimer's Disease. She said that on her last day on the beat, Reagan spoke to her for a few moments and didn't seem to know who she was, before then returning to his normal self. However, Reagan's primary physician, Dr. John Hutton, said the president "absolutely" did not "show any signs of dementia or Alzheimer's." His doctors noted that he began exhibiting Alzheimer's symptoms only after he left the White House.

In 1988, Reagan's Vice President, George H. W. Bush, was elected to succeed Reagan as President of the United States. On January 11, 1989, Reagan addressed the nation for the last time on television from the Oval Office, nine days before handing over the presidency to Bush. On the morning of January 20, 1989, Ronald and Nancy Reagan met with the Bushes for coffee at the White House before escorting them to the Capitol Building, where Bush took the oath of office. The Reagans then boarded a Presidential helicopter, and flew to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. There, they boarded the Presidential Jet (in this instance, it was not called Air Force One), and flew home to California—to their new home in the wealthy suburb of Bel Air in Los Angeles. Reagan was the oldest president to serve (at 77), surpassing Dwight Eisenhower, who was 70 when he left office in 1961.

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Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975). Born in Illinois, Reagan moved to Los Angeles, California in the 1930s, where he was an actor, president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and a spokesman for General Electric (GE). His start in politics occurred during his work for GE. Originally a member of the Democratic Party, he switched to the Republican Party in 1962, at the age of 51. After delivering a rousing speech in support of Barry Goldwater's presidential candidacy in 1964, he was persuaded to seek the California governorship, winning two years later and again in 1970. He was defeated in his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 as well as 1976, but won both the nomination and election in 1980.

As president, Reagan implemented bold new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics," included deregulation and substantial tax cuts implemented in 1981. In his first term he survived an assassination attempt, took a hard line against organized labor, and ordered military actions in Grenada. He was reelected in a landslide in 1984. His second term was primarily marked by foreign matters, namely the ending of the Cold War, the bombing of Libya, and the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair. The president had previously ordered a massive military buildup in an arms race with the Soviet Union, forgoing the strategy of détente. He publicly described the USSR as an "evil empire" and supported anti-Communist movements worldwide. He negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, resulting in the INF Treaty and the decrease of both countries' nuclear arsenals.

Reagan left office in 1989. In 1994, the former president disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier in the year; he died ten years later at the age of ninety-three. He ranks highly among former U.S. presidents in terms of approval rating.

According to Paul Kengor, author of God and Ronald Reagan, Reagan had a particularly strong faith in the goodness of people, which stemmed from the optimistic faith of his mother, Nelle, and the Disciples of Christ faith, which he was baptized into in 1922. When Reagan was 11, his mother gave him the book That Printer of Udell's and he said that the book inspired him to become an evangelical Christian; at age 66 Reagan said that the book "left an abiding belief in the triumph of good over evil." For the time, Reagan was unusual in his opposition to racial discrimination, and recalled a time in Dixon when the local inn would not allow black people to stay there. Reagan brought them back to his house, where his mother invited them to stay the night and have breakfast the next morning.

Following the closure of the Pitney Store in late 1920, the Reagans moved to Dixon; the midwestern "small universe" had a lasting impression on Ronald. He attended Dixon High School, where he developed interests in acting, sports, and storytelling. His first job was as a lifeguard at the Rock River in Lowell Park, near Dixon, in 1926. "I saved 77 lives," Reagan said in an interview, and mentioned that he notched a mark on a wooden log for every life he saved. After high school, Reagan attended Eureka College, where he was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, majored in economics and sociology, and was very active in sports, including football.

After graduating from Eureka in 1932, Reagan drove himself to Iowa, where he auditioned for a job at many small-town radio stations. He got a job broadcasting University of Iowa home football games for the Hawkeyes. He was paid $10 per game. Soon after, a staff announcer's job opened at radio station WOC in Davenport, and Reagan was hired, now earning $100 per month. Due to his persuasive voice, he moved to WHO radio in Des Moines as an announcer for Chicago Cubs baseball games. His specialty was creating play-by-play accounts of games that the station received by wire.

While traveling with the Cubs in California, Reagan took a screen test in 1937 that led to a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers studios. His first screen credit was the starring role in the 1937 movie Love Is on the Air, and by the end of 1939 he had already appeared in 19 films. Before the film Santa Fe Trail in 1940, he played the role of George "The Gipper" Gipp in the film Knute Rockne, All American; from it, he acquired the lifelong nickname "the Gipper." Reagan's favorite acting role was in 1942's Kings Row, but his performance did not meet with universal approval: one reviewer felt that Reagan had made "only casual acquaintance with the ." Reagan also acted in Tennessee's Partner, Hellcats of the Navy, This Is the Army, Dark Victory, Bedtime for Bonzo, Cattle Queen of Montana, and The Killers (his final film) in a 1964 remake.

He spent the majority of his Hollywood career in the "B film" division, where, Reagan joked, the producers "didn't want them good, they wanted them Thursday." While often overshadowed by more famous actors, Reagan's films did receive many good reviews.

After completing fourteen home-study Army Extension Courses, Reagan enlisted in the Army Enlisted Reserve on April 29, 1937, as a private assigned to Troop B, 322nd Cavalry at Des Moines, Iowa. He was appointed Second Lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps of the Cavalry on May 25, 1937, and on June 18 was assigned to the 323rd Cavalry.

Reagan was ordered to active duty for the first time on April 18, 1942. Due to his nearsightedness, he was classified for limited service only, which excluded him from serving overseas. His first assignment was at the San Francisco Port of Embarkation at Fort Mason, California, as a liaison officer of the Port and Transportation Office. Upon the approval of the Army Air Force (AAF), he applied for a transfer from the Cavalry to the AAF on May 15, 1942, and was assigned to AAF Public Relations and subsequently to the 1st Motion Picture Unit (officially, the "18th AAF Base Unit") in Culver City, California. On January 14, 1943 he was promoted to First Lieutenant and was sent to the Provisional Task Force Show Unit of This Is The Army at Burbank, California. He returned to the 1st Motion Picture Unit after completing this duty and was promoted to Captain on July 22, 1943.

In January 1944, Captain Reagan was ordered to temporary duty in New York City to participate in the opening of the sixth War Loan Drive. He was re-assigned to the 18th AAF Base Unit on November 14, 1944, where he remained until the end of World War II. He was recommended for promotion to Major on February 2, 1945, but this recommendation was disapproved on July 17 of that year. He returned to Fort MacArthur, California, where he was separated from active duty on December 9, 1945. By the end of the war, his units had produced some 400 training films for the AAF.

Reagan was first elected to the Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild in 1941, serving as an alternate. Following World War II, he resumed service and became 3rd Vice president in 1946. The adoption of conflict-of-interest bylaws in 1947 led the SAG president and six board members to resign; Reagan was nominated in a special election for the position of president and subsequently elected. He would subsequently be chosen by the membership to seven additional one-year terms, from 1947 to 1952 and in 1959. Reagan led SAG through eventful years that were marked by labor-management disputes, the Taft-Hartley Act, House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) hearings and the Hollywood blacklist era.

Though an early critic of television, Reagan landed fewer film roles in the late 1950s and decided to join the medium. He was hired as the host of General Electric Theater, a series of weekly dramas that became very popular. His contract required him to tour GE plants ten weeks out of the year, often demanding of him fourteen speeches per day. He earned approximately $125,000 per year (about $1,000,000 in 2008 dollars) in this role. His final work as a professional actor was as host and performer from 1964 to 1965 on the television series Death Valley Days.

In 1938, Reagan co-starred in the film Brother Rat with actress Jane Wyman (1917–2007). They were engaged at the Chicago Theatre, and married on January 26, 1940, at the Wee Kirk o' the Heather church in Glendale, California. Together they had two children, Maureen (1941–2001) and Christine (born June 26, 1947; died June 27, 1947), and adopted a third, Michael (born 1945). Following arguments about Reagan's political ambitions, Wyman filed for divorce in 1948, citing a distraction due to her husband's SAG union duties; the divorce was finalized in 1949. making him the only U.S. president to have been divorced.

Reagan met actress Nancy Davis (born 1921) in 1949 after she contacted him in his capacity as president of the Screen Actors Guild to help her with issues regarding her name appearing on a communist blacklist in Hollywood (she had been mistaken for another Nancy Davis). She described their meeting by saying, "I don't know if it was exactly love at first sight, but it was pretty close." They were engaged at Chasen's restaurant in Los Angeles and were married on March 4, 1952 at the Little Brown Church in the San Fernando Valley. The actor William Holden served as best man at the ceremony. They had two children: Patti (born 1952) and Ron (born 1958).

Reagan opposed certain civil rights legislation, although he later reversed his opposition to voting rights and fair housing laws. His opposition to such laws was based on his preference for small government and states' rights. He strongly denied having racist motives.

Two years after switching parties, Reagan joined the campaign of conservative presidential contender Barry Goldwater. Speaking on Goldwater's behalf, Reagan stressed his belief in the importance of smaller government. He revealed his ideological motivation in a famed speech given on October 27, 1964: "The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing." The speech raised $1 million for Goldwater's campaign, and soon became known as the "Time for Choosing" speech. It is considered the event that launched Reagan's political career.

California Republicans were impressed with Reagan's political views and charisma after his "Time for Choosing" speech, and nominated him for Governor of California in 1966. In Reagan's campaign, he emphasized two main themes: "to send the welfare bums back to work," and in reference to burgeoning anti-war and anti-establishment student protests at the University of California at Berkeley, "to clean up the mess at Berkeley." He was elected, defeating two-term governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, and was sworn in on January 3, 1967. In his first term, he froze government hiring and approved tax hikes to balance the budget.

Shortly after the beginning of his term, Reagan tested the presidential waters in 1968 as part of a "Stop Nixon" movement, hoping to cut into Nixon's Southern support and be a compromise candidate if neither Nixon nor second-place Nelson Rockefeller received enough delegates to win on the first ballot at the Republican convention. However, by the time of the convention Nixon had 692 delegate votes, 25 more than he needed to secure the nomination, followed by Rockefeller with Reagan in third place.

Early in 1967, the national debate on abortion was beginning. Democratic California state senator Anthony Beilenson introduced the "Therapeutic Abortion Act," in an effort to reduce the number of "back-room abortions" performed in California. The State Legislature sent the bill to Reagan's desk where, after many days of indecision, he signed it. About two million abortions would be performed as a result, most because of a provision in the bill allowing abortions for the well-being of the mother. Reagan had been in office for only four months when he signed the bill, and stated that had he been more experienced as governor, it would not have been signed. After he recognized what he called the "consequences" of the bill, he announced that he was pro-life. He maintained that position later in his political career, writing extensively about abortion.

Despite an unsuccessful attempt to recall him in 1968, Reagan was re-elected in 1970, defeating "Big Daddy" Jesse Unruh. He chose not to seek a third term in the following election cycle. One of Reagan's greatest frustrations in office concerned capital punishment, which he strongly supported. His efforts to enforce the state's laws in this area were thwarted when the Supreme Court of California issued its People v. Anderson decision, which invalidated all death sentences issued in California prior to 1972, though the decision was later overturned by a constitutional amendment. The only execution during Reagan's governorship was on April 12, 1967, when Aaron Mitchell's sentence was carried out by the state in San Quentin's gas chamber.

Reagan's terms as governor helped to shape the policies he would pursue in his later political career as president. By campaigning on a platform of sending "the welfare bums back to work," he spoke out against the idea of the welfare state. He also strongly advocated the Republican ideal of less government regulation of the economy, including that of undue federal taxation.

In 1976, Reagan challenged incumbent President Gerald Ford in a bid to become the Republican Party's candidate for president. Reagan soon established himself as the conservative candidate with the support of like-minded organizations such as the American Conservative Union which became key components of his political base, while President Ford was considered a more moderate Republican.

Reagan's campaign relied on a strategy crafted by campaign manager John Sears of winning a few primaries early to seriously damage the lift-off of Ford's campaign, such as his victories in North Carolina, Texas, and California, but the strategy disintegrated. Reagan ended up losing New Hampshire and later Florida. As the party's 1976 convention in Kansas City, Missouri neared, Ford appeared close to victory. Acknowledging his party's moderate wing, Reagan chose moderate Republican Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania as his running mate. Nonetheless, Ford narrowly won, with 1,187 delegates to Reagan's 1,070.

Reagan's concession speech emphasized the dangers of nuclear war and the threat posed by the Soviet Union. Although he lost the nomination, Reagan received 307 write-in votes in New Hampshire, 388 votes as an Independent on Wyoming's ballot, and a single electoral vote from a Washington State "faithless elector" in the November election, in which Ford lost to the Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter.

The 1980 presidential campaign between Reagan and incumbent President Jimmy Carter was conducted during domestic concerns as well as the ongoing Iran hostage crisis. His campaign stressed some of his fundamental principles: lower taxes to stimulate the economy, less government interference in peoples' lives, states' rights, and a strong national defense.

After receiving the Republican nomination, he selected one of his primary opponents, George H.W. Bush, to be his running mate. His showing in the October televised debates boosted his campaign. Reagan won the election, carrying 44 states with 489 electoral votes to 49 electoral votes for Carter (representing six states and Washington, D.C.). Reagan won 50.7% of the popular vote while Carter took 41%, and Independent John B. Anderson (a liberal Republican) received 6.7%. Republicans captured the Senate for the first time since 1952, and gained 34 House seats, but the Democrats retained a majority.

During his Presidency, Ronald Reagan pursued policies that reflected his personal belief in individual freedom, brought changes domestically, both to the U.S. economy and expanded military, and contributed to the end of the Cold War. The "Reagan Revolution," proponents claimed, would reinvigorate American morale and reduce the people's reliance upon government. As president, Reagan kept a series of diaries in which he commented about daily occurrences of his presidency and his views on current issues, frequently mentioning his wife, Nancy. The diaries were published in May 2007 in the bestselling book, The Reagan Diaries.

The Reagan Presidency began in a dramatic manner: as Reagan was giving his inaugural address, 52 U.S. hostages, held by Iran for 444 days were set free.

The bullet was removed and the surgery was deemed a success. It was later determined, however, that the president's life had been in serious danger due to rapid blood loss and severe breathing difficulties. He was able to turn the grave situation into a more light-hearted one though, for when Nancy Reagan came to see him he told her, "Honey, I forgot to duck" (using Jack Dempsey's quip).

The president was released from the hospital on April 11 and recovered relatively quickly, becoming the first serving U.S. President to survive being shot in an assassination attempt. The attempt had great influence on Reagan's popularity; polls indicated his approval rating to be around 73%. Reagan believed that God had spared his life so that he may go on to fulfill a greater purpose.

When Reagan entered office, the United States inflation rate stood at 11.83% and unemployment at 7.5%. Reagan implemented policies based on supply-side economics and advocated a classical liberal and laissez-faire philosophy, seeking to stimulate the economy with large, across-the-board tax cuts. Citing the economic theories of Arthur Laffer, Reagan promoted the proposed tax cuts as potentially stimulating the economy enough to expand the tax base, offsetting the revenue loss due to reduced rates of taxation, a theory that entered political discussion as the Laffer curve. Reaganomics was the subject of debate with supporters pointing to improvements in certain key economic indicators as evidence of success, and critics pointing to large increases in federal budget deficits and the national debt. His policy of "peace through strength" (also described as "firm but fair") resulted in a record peacetime defense buildup including a 40% real increase in defense spending between 1981 and 1985.

During Reagan's presidency, federal income tax rates were lowered significantly with the signing of the bipartisan Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth recovered strongly after the 1982 recession and grew during his eight years in office at an annual rate of 3.4% per year. Unemployment peaked at 10.8% percent in December 1982—higher than any time since the Great Depression—then dropped during the rest of Reagan's presidency. Sixteen million new jobs were created, while inflation significantly decreased. The net effect of all Reagan-era tax bills was a 1% decrease in government revenues. Reagan also revised the tax code with the bipartisan Tax Reform Act of 1986.

The policies proposed that economic growth would occur when marginal tax rates were low enough to spur investment, which would then lead to increased economic growth, higher employment and wages. Critics labeled this "trickle-down economics"—the belief that tax policies that benefit the wealthy will create a "trickle-down" effect to the poor. Questions arose as to whether Reagan's policies benefitted the wealthy more than those living in poverty, and many poor and minority citizens viewed Reagan as indifferent to their struggles.

In accordance with Reagan's less-government intervention views, Reagan cut the budgets of non-military programs including Medicaid, food stamps, federal education programs and the EPA. Reagan protected entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare. However, his administration attempted to purge tens of thousands of allegedly disabled people from the Social Security disability rolls.

The administration's stance toward the Savings and Loan industry contributed to the Savings and Loan crisis. It is also suggested, by a minority of Reaganomics critics, that the policies partially influenced the stock market crash of 1987, but there is no consensus regarding a single source for the crash. In order to cover newly spawned federal budget deficits, the United States borrowed heavily both domestically and abroad, raising the national debt from $700 billion to $3 trillion. Reagan described the new debt as the "greatest disappointment" of his presidency.

He reappointed Paul Volcker as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and in 1987 he appointed monetarist Alan Greenspan to succeed him. Reagan ended the price controls on domestic oil which had contributed to energy crises in the 1970s. The price of oil subsequently dropped, and the 1980s did not see the fuel shortages that the 1970s had. Reagan also fulfilled a 1980 campaign promise to repeal the Windfall profit tax in 1988, which had previously increased dependence on foreign oil. Some economists, such as Nobel Prize winners Milton Friedman and Robert A. Mundell, argue that Reagan's tax policies invigorated America's economy and contributed to the economic boom of the 1990s. Other economists, such as Nobel Prize winner Robert Solow, argue that the deficits were a major reason why Reagan's successor, George H. W. Bush, reneged on a campaign promise and raised taxes.

American peacekeeping forces in Beirut, a part of a multinational force (MNF) during the Lebanese Civil War who had been earlier deployed by Reagan, were attacked on October 23, 1983. The Beirut barracks bombing resulted in the deaths of 241 American servicemen by suicide bombers. Reagan called the attack "despicable," pledged to keep a military force in Lebanon, and planned to target the Sheik Abdullah barracks in Baalbek, Lebanon, training ground for Hezbollah fighters, but the mission was later aborted. On February 7, 1984, President Reagan ordered the Marines to begin withdrawal from Lebanon.

On October 25, 1983, only two days later, Reagan ordered U.S. forces to invade Grenada, where a 1979 coup d'état had established a Marxist-Leninist government aligned with the Soviet Union and Cuba. On October 13, a faction led by Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard seized power. A formal appeal from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) led to the intervention of U.S. forces; President Reagan also cited the regional threat posed by a Soviet-Cuban military build-up in the Caribbean and concern for the safety of several hundred American medical students at St. George's University as adequate reasons to invade. In the first major operation conducted by the U.S. military since the Vietnam War, several days of fighting commenced, resulting in a U.S. victory, with 19 American fatalities and 116 wounded American soldiers. In mid-December, after a new government was appointed by the Governor-General, U.S. forces withdrew.

Reagan escalated the Cold War, accelerating a reversal from the policy of détente which began in 1979 following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Reagan ordered a massive buildup of the United States Military and implemented new policies towards the Soviet Union: reviving the B-1 bomber program that had been canceled by the Carter administration, and producing the MX "Peacekeeper" missile. In response to Soviet deployment of the SS-20, Reagan oversaw NATO's deployment of the Pershing II missile in West Germany.

Together with Britain's prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Reagan denounced the Soviet Union in ideological terms. In a famous address on June 8, 1982 to the British Parliament, Reagan said, "the forward march of freedom and democracy will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history." On March 3, 1983, he predicted that communism would collapse, stating, "Communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written." In a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals on March 8, 1983, Reagan called the Soviet Union "an evil empire." After Soviet fighters downed Korean Air Lines Flight 007 on September 1, 1983, carrying 269 people including U.S. congressman Larry McDonald, Reagan labeled the act a "massacre" and declared that the Soviets had turned "against the world and the moral precepts which guide human relations among people everywhere." The Reagan administration responded to the incident by suspending all Soviet passenger air service to the United States, and dropped several agreements being negotiated with the Soviets, wounding them financially.

Under a policy that came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine, Reagan and his administration also provided overt and covert aid to anti-communist resistance movements in an effort to "rollback" Soviet-backed communist governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America. During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Reagan aided Mujihadeen forces against the Red Army. President Reagan's Covert Action program has been given credit for assisting in ending the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

In March 1983, Reagan introduced the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a defense project that would have used ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. Reagan believed that this defense shield could make nuclear war impossible, but disbelief that the technology could ever work led opponents to dub SDI "Star Wars" and argue that the technological objective was unattainable. The Soviets became concerned about the possible effects SDI would have; leader Yuri Andropov said it would put "the entire world in jeopardy." For those reasons, David Gergen, former aide to President Reagan, believes that in retrospect, SDI hastened the end of the Cold War.

Critics labeled Reagan's foreign policies as aggressive, imperialistic, and chided as "warmongering," though they were supported by leading American conservatives who argued that they were necessary to protect U.S. security interests. A reformer, Mikhail Gorbachev, would later rise to power in the Soviet Union in 1985, implementing new policies for openness and reform that were called glasnost and perestroika.

Reagan accepted the Republican nomination in Dallas, Texas, on a wave of positive feeling. He proclaimed that it was "morning again in America," in reference to the recovering economy and the dominating performance by the U.S. athletes at the Los Angeles Olympics that summer, among other things. He became the first American president to open an Olympic Games held in the United States.

Reagan's opponent in the 1984 presidential election was former Vice President Walter Mondale. With questions about Reagan's age, and a weak performance in the first presidential debate, it was questioned whether he was capable to be president for another term. Reagan rebounded in the second debate, and confronted questions about his age, quipping, "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience," which generated applause and laughter from members of the audience, and even from Mondale himself.

That November, Reagan was re-elected, winning 49 of 50 states. The president's landslide victory saw Mondale carry only his home state of Minnesota (by 3800 votes) and the District of Columbia. Reagan won a record 525 electoral votes, the most of any candidate in United States history, and received 58.8% of the popular vote to Mondale's 40.6%.

Reagan was sworn in as president for the second time on January 20, 1985, in a private ceremony at the White House. The public ceremony took place in the Capitol Rotunda the next day, because January 20 fell on a Sunday, thus no public celebration was held. January 21 was one of the coldest days on record in Washington, D.C., and due to the low temperatures and large snowfall the night before, inaugural celebrations were held inside the Capitol.

In 1985, Reagan visited a German military cemetery in Bitburg to lay a wreath with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. It was determined that the cemetery held the graves of 49 members of the Waffen-SS. Reagan issued a statement that called the Nazi soldiers buried in that cemetery "victims," which ignited a stir over whether Reagan had equated the SS men to Holocaust victims; Pat Buchanan, Director of Communications under Reagan, argued that the notion was false. Now strongly urged to cancel the visit, the president responded that it would be wrong to back down on a promise he had made to Chancellor Kohl. He attended the ceremony where two military generals laid a wreath.

The Reagan administration was criticized for its slow response to the growing HIV-AIDS epidemic. As thousands became infected with the virus, President Reagan did not increase funding to try and discover cures, rather he downplayed the situation and only acknowledged that it was an issue of concern at the May 31, 1987 Third International Conference on AIDS in Washington.

Midway into his second term, Reagan declared more militant policies in the War on Drugs. He said that "drugs were menacing our society" and promised to fight for drug-free schools and workplaces, expanded drug treatment, stronger law enforcement and drug interdiction efforts, and greater public awareness.

On October 27, 1986, Reagan signed a drug enforcement bill that budgeted $1.7 billion dollars to fund the War on Drugs and specified a mandatory minimum penalty for drug offenses. The bill was criticized for promoting significant racial disparities in the prison population, because of the differences in sentencing for crack and powder cocaine. Critics also charged that the administration's policies did little to actually reduce the availability of drugs or crime on the street, while resulting in a great financial and human cost for American society. Defenders of the effort point to success in reducing rates of adolescent drug use.

First Lady Nancy Reagan made the War on Drugs one of her main priorities by founding the "Just Say No" drug awareness campaign, which aimed to discourage children and teenagers from engaging in recreational drug use by offering various ways of saying "no." Mrs. Reagan traveled to 65 cities in 33 states, raising awareness about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

The president addressed the nation from the Oval Office after the attacks had commenced, stating, "When our citizens are attacked or abused anywhere in the world on the direct orders of hostile regimes, we will respond so long as I'm in this office." He justified the attack by accusing Libya of direct responsibility for terrorism aimed at the U.S.

In 1986, a scandal shook the administration stemming from the use of proceeds from covert arms sales to Iran to fund the Contras in Nicaragua, which had been specifically outlawed by an act of Congress. The Iran-Contra affair became the largest political scandal in the United States during the 1980s. The International Court of Justice, whose jurisdiction to decide the case was disputed, ruled that the U.S. had violated international law in Nicaragua due to its obligations not to intervene in the affairs of other states.

President Reagan professed ignorance of the plot's existence. He appointed two Republicans and one Democrat (John Tower, Brent Scowcroft and Edmund Muskie, known as the "Tower Commission") to investigate the scandal. The commission could not find direct evidence that Reagan had prior knowledge of the program, but criticized him heavily for his disengagement from managing his staff, making the diversion of funds possible. A separate report by Congress concluded that "If the president did not know what his national security advisers were doing, he should have." Reagan's popularity declined from 67 percent to 46 percent in less than a week, the greatest and quickest decline ever for a president. The scandal resulted in fourteen indictments within Reagan's staff, and eleven convictions.

Many Central Americans criticize Reagan for his support of the Contras, calling him an anti-communist zealot, blinded to human rights abuses, while others say he "saved Central America." Daniel Ortega, Sandinistan and current president of Nicaragua, said that he hoped God would forgive Reagan for his "dirty war against Nicaragua." In 1986 the USA was found guilty by the International Court of Justice (World Court) of war crimes against Nicaragua.

By the early 1980s, the USSR had built up a military arsenal and army surpassing that of the United States. Previously, the U.S. had relied on the qualitative superiority of its weapons to essentially frighten the Soviets, but the gap had been narrowed. After President Reagan's military buildup, the Soviet Union did not further dramatically build up its military; the enormous military expenses, in combination with collectivized agriculture and inefficient planned manufacturing, were a heavy burden for the Soviet economy. At the same time, the Reagan Administration persuaded Saudi Arabia to increase oil production, which resulted in a three times drop of oil prices in 1985; oil was the main source of Soviet export revenues. These factors gradually brought the Soviet economy to a stagnant state during Gorbachev's tenure.

Ronald Reagan recognized the change in the direction of the Soviet leadership with Gorbachev, and shifted to diplomacy, with a view to encourage the Soviet Leader to pursue substantial arms agreements. Gorbachev agreed to meet Reagan in four summit conferences around the world: the first in Geneva, Switzerland, the second in Reykjavík, Iceland, the third held in Washington, D.C., along with the fourth summit in Moscow, Russia. Reagan believed that if he could persuade the Soviets to allow for more democracy and free speech, this would lead to reform and the end of Communism.

Prior to Gorbachev visiting Washington, D.C. for the third summit in 1987, the Soviet Leader announced his intention to pursue significant arms agreements. The timing of the announcement led Western diplomats to state that Gorbachev was offering major concessions to the United States on the levels of conventional forces, nuclear weapons, and policy in Eastern Europe; however, Gorbachev denied ever doing so. He and Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty at the White House (they finalized it a year later), which eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons.

When Reagan visited Moscow for the fourth summit in 1988, he was viewed as a celebrity by Russians. A journalist asked the president if he still considered the Soviet Union the evil empire. "No," he replied, "I was talking about another time, another era." At Gorbachev’s request, Reagan gave a speech on free markets at the Moscow State University.

In his autobiography An American Life, Reagan expressed his optimism about the new direction that they charted, his warm feelings for Gorbachev, and his concern for Gorbachev's safety because he pushed reforms so hard: "I was concerned for his safety," Reagan wrote. "I've still worried about him. How hard and fast can he push reforms without risking his life?" The Berlin Wall was torn down starting in 1989 and two years later the Soviet Union collapsed.

On July 13, 1985, Reagan underwent surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital to remove cancerous polyps from his colon. This caused the first-ever invocation of the acting president clause of the 25th Amendment. The surgery lasted just under three hours and was successful. Reagan resumed the powers of the presidency later that day. In August of that year, he underwent an operation to remove skin cancer cells from his nose. In October, additional skin cancer cells that were detected on his nose were removed.

Two years later, on January 5, Reagan underwent surgery for an enlarged prostate which caused further worries about his health. No cancerous growths were found, however, and he was not sedated during the operation. In July of that year, aged 76, he underwent a third skin cancer operation on his nose.

Earlier in his presidency, Reagan started wearing a custom, technologically advanced hearing aid, first in his right ear and later in his left as well. His decision to go public with his wearing the small, audio-amplifying device boosted their sales.

During his 1980 campaign, Reagan pledged that, if given the opportunity, he would appoint the first female Supreme Court Justice. That opportunity came in his first year in office when he nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Potter Stewart. In his second term, Reagan elevated William Rehnquist to succeed Warren Burger as Chief Justice, and named Antonin Scalia to fill the vacant seat. Reagan nominated conservative jurist Robert Bork to the high court in 1987. Senator Ted Kennedy, a Democrat of Massachusetts, strongly condemned Bork, and great controversy ensued. Bork's nomination was rejected 58-42; Anthony Kennedy was eventually confirmed in his place. In addition to his three Supreme Court appointments, Reagan appointed 83 judges to the United States Courts of Appeals, and 290 judges to the United States district courts. His total of 376 appointments is the most by any president.

For the first five years after the end of Reagan's presidency in 1989, the Reagans traveled from their Bel Air home to the Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara every few months. They regularly attended Bel Air Presbyterian Church and occasionally made appearances on behalf of the Republican Party, including a well-received speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention. Previously on November 4, 1991, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library was dedicated and opened to the public. At the dedication ceremonies, five presidents were all in attendance, as well as six first ladies, marking the first time five presidents were in the same location together. He continued to publicly speak in favor of a line-item veto, a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, and the repeal of the 22nd Amendment, which prohibits a president from serving more than two terms. In 1992 Reagan established the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award with the newly formed Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. His final public speech was on February 3, 1994, during a tribute in Washington, D.C., and his last major public appearance was at the funeral of fellow Republican President Richard Nixon on April 27, 1994.

After his diagnosis, letters of support from well-wishers poured into his California home. But there was also speculation over how long Reagan had demonstrated symptoms of mental degeneration. Former CBS White House Press Corps Lesley Stahl recalls an interview when he was president where "a vacant Reagan barely seemed to realize anyone else was in the room," and that before he "reemerged into alertness" she recalls that "I had come that close to reporting that Reagan was senile." But Dr. Lawrence K. Altman, a physician employed as a reporter for the New York Times, noted that "the line between mere forgetfulness and the beginning of Alzheimer's can be fuzzy" and all four of Reagan's White House doctors said that they saw no evidence of Alzheimer's while he was president. Dr. John E. Hutton, Reagan's primary physician from 1984 to 1989, said the president "absolutely" did not "show any signs of dementia or Alzheimer's." Reagan did experience occasional memory lapses, though, especially with names. Once, while meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, he repeatedly referred to Vice President Bush as "Prime Minister Bush." Reagan's doctors, however, note that he only began exhibiting overt symptoms of the illness in late 1992 or 1993, several years after he had left office. His former Chief of Staff James Baker considered "ludicrous" the idea of Reagan sleeping during cabinet meetings. Other staff members, former aides, and friends said they saw no indication of Alzheimer's while president.

Complicating the picture, Reagan suffered an episode of head trauma in July 1989, five years prior to his diagnosis. After being thrown from a horse in Mexico, a subdural hematoma was found and surgically treated later in the year. Nancy Reagan asserts that her husband's 1989 fall hastened the onset of Alzheimer's disease, citing what doctors told her, although head trauma has not been conclusively proven to accelerate Alzheimer's. Reagan's one-time physician, Dr. Daniel Ruge, has said, however, it is possible, but not certain, that the horse accident affected the course of Reagan's memory.

As the years went on, the disease slowly destroyed Reagan's mental capacity. He was only able to recognize a few people, other than his wife, Nancy. He remained active, however; he took walks through parks near his home and on beaches, played golf regularly, and often went to his office in nearby Century City.

Reagan suffered a fall at his Bel Air home on January 13, 2001, resulting in a broken hip. The fracture was repaired the following day and the 89 year old Reagan returned home later that week, although he faced difficult physical therapy at home. On February 6, 2001, Reagan reached the age of 90, becoming the third former president to do so (the other two being John Adams and Herbert Hoover, with Gerald Ford later reaching 90). Reagan's public appearances became much less frequent with the progression of the disease, and as a result, his family decided that he would live in quiet isolation. Nancy Reagan told CNN's Larry King in 2001 that very few visitors were allowed to see her husband because she felt that "Ronnie would want people to remember him as he was." Since his diagnosis and death, Mrs. Reagan has become a stem-cell research advocate, urging Congress and President George W. Bush to support federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, something President Bush opposed. Mrs. Reagan has said that she believes that it could lead to a cure for Alzheimer's.

Reagan died at his home in Bel Air, California on June 5, 2004. A short time after his death, Nancy Reagan released a statement saying: "My family and I would like the world to know that President Ronald Reagan has passed away after 10 years of Alzheimer's Disease at 93 years of age. We appreciate everyone's prayers." President George W. Bush declared June 11 a National Day of Mourning, and international tributes came in from around the world. Reagan's body was taken to the Kingsley and Gates Funeral Home in Santa Monica, California later in the day, where well-wishers paid tribute by laying flowers and American flags in the grass. On June 7, his body was removed and taken to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where a brief family funeral service was held. His body lay in repose in the Library lobby until June 9; over 100,000 people viewed the coffin.

On June 9, Reagan's body was flown to Washington D.C. where he became the tenth United States president to lie in state. In the thirty-four hours that it lay there, 104,684 people filed past the coffin.

On June 11, a state funeral was conducted in the Washington National Cathedral, and presided over by President George W. Bush. Eulogies were given by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and both Presidents Bush. Also in attendance were Mikhail Gorbachev, and many world leaders, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and interim presidents Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, and Ghazi al-Yawer of Iraq.

After the funeral service, the Reagan entourage was flown back to California—to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library—where another service was held, and President Reagan was interred. He is the second longest-lived president in U.S. history, having lived 93 years and 120 days, just 45 days fewer than Gerald Ford. He was the first United States president to die in the 21st century, and his was the first state funeral in the United States since that of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973.

Reagan's legacy is mixed, with supporters pointing to a more efficient and prosperous economy and a peaceful end to the Cold War. Critics argue that his economic policies caused huge budget deficits, quadrupling the United States national debt, and that the Iran-Contra affair lowered American credibility. As time has passed, he has generally come to be viewed in a more positive light, and ranks highly among presidents in many public opinion polls.

The Cold War was a major political and economic endeavor for over four decades, but the confrontation between the two superpowers had decreased dramatically by the end of Reagan's presidency. The significance of Reagan's role in ending the Cold War has spurred contentious and opinionated debate. That Reagan had some role in contributing to the downfall of the Soviet Union is collectively agreed, but the extent of this role is continuously debated, with many believing that Reagan's defense policies, hard line rhetoric against the Soviet Union and Communism, as well as summits with General Secretary Gorbachev played a significant part in ending the War.

He was notable amongst post-World War II presidents as being convinced that the Soviet Union could be defeated rather than simply negotiated with, but his strong rhetoric toward the nation had mixed effects; Jeffery W. Knopf, Ph.D. observes that being labeled "evil" probably made no difference to the Soviets but gave encouragement to the East-European citizens opposed to communism. That Reagan had little or no effect in ending the Cold War is argued with equal weight; that Communism's internal weakness had become apparent, and the Soviet Union would have collapsed in the end regardless of who was in power. President Harry Truman's policy of containment is also regarded as a force behind the fall of Communism, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan undermined the Soviet system itself.

Ronald Reagan reshaped the Republican party, gave rise to the modern conservative movement, and altered the political dynamic of the United States. More men voted Republican under Reagan, and Reagan tapped into religious voters. The so-called "Reagan Democrats" were a result of his presidency. Bill Schneider, senior political analyst at CNN, said, "he whole Republican Party traces its lineage, its legitimacy, to this one man." At the same time, Reagan challenged Democrats to redefine themselves.

The Republican Revolution of 1994, the recapturing of both the House and Senate, can largely be credited to Reagan. It can also be argued that Reagan is responsible for the elections of both George Bushes. His tenure restored the office of the presidency to high regard and restored America's confidence after the Watergate years and economic troubles.

According to columnist Chuck Raasch, "Reagan transformed the American presidency in ways that only a few have been able to." He redefined the political agenda of the times, advocating lower taxes, a liberal economic philosophy, and a stronger military. His role in the Cold War further enhanced his image as a different kind of leader.

Reagan did not have the highest approval ratings as president, but his popularity has increased since 1989. Gallup polls in 2001 and 2007 have ranked him number one or number two when correspondents were asked for the greatest president in history, and third of post-World War II presidents in a 2007 Rasmussen Reports poll, fifth in an ABC 2000 poll, ninth in another 2007 Rasmussen poll, and eighth in a late 2008 poll by United Kingdom newspaper The Times. In a Siena College survey of over 200 historians, however, Reagan ranked sixteenth out of 42.

Public reaction to Reagan was always mixed; the oldest president was supported by young voters, and began an alliance that shifted many of them to the Republican party. He was not popular with all minority groups, especially African-Americans. He emphasized family values in his campaigns and during his presidency, although he was the first president to have been divorced. The president's way of speaking, pro-America rhetoric, negotiation skills, as well as use of the growing media market played his part in defining the 1980s and his future legacy.

Reagan received a number of awards in his pre- and post-presidential years. Following his election as president, Reagan received a lifetime gold membership in the Screen Actors Guild, as well as the United States Military Academy's Sylvanus Thayer Award.

Reagan received an honorary British knighthood, The Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1989. This entitled him to the use of the post-nominal letters GCB, but did not entitle him to be known as "Sir Ronald Reagan." Only two American presidents have received the honor—Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Reagan was also named an honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford. Japan awarded him the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum in 1989; he was the second American president to receive the award, but the first to have it given to him for personal reasons (Dwight D. Eisenhower received it as a commemoration of U.S.-Japanese relations).

On January 18, 1993, Reagan's former Vice-President and sitting President George H.W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that the United States can bestow. Reagan was also awarded the Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed by Republican members of the Senate.

On Reagan's 87th birthday, in 1998, Washington National Airport was renamed Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport by a bill signed into law by President Clinton. That same year, the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center was dedicated in Washington, D.C. He was among 18 included in Gallup's List of Widely Admired People of the 20th Century, from a poll conducted of the American people in 1999; two years later, the USS Ronald Reagan was christened by Nancy Reagan and the United States Navy. It is one of few Navy ships christened in honor of a living person, and the first aircraft carrier to be named in honor of a living former president.

Congress authorized the creation of the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site in Dixon, Illinois in 2002, pending federal purchase of the property. On May 16 of that year, Nancy Reagan accepted the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress, on behalf of the president and herself.

Following Reagan's death, the United States Postal Service issued a President Ronald Reagan commemorative postage stamp in 2005. Later in the year, CNN, along with the editors of Time magazine, named him the "most fascinating person" of the network's first 25 years; Time listed Reagan one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th century as well. The Discovery Channel asked its viewers to vote for The Greatest American in an unscientific poll on June 26, 2005; Reagan received the honorary title.

In 2006, Reagan was inducted into the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts. The following year, Polish President Lech Kaczyński posthumously awarded Reagan the highest Polish distinction, the Order of the White Eagle, saying that Reagan inspired the Polish people to work for change and helped to unseat the repressive communist regime; Kaczyński said it “would not have been possible if it was not for the tough-mindedness, determination, and feeling of mission of President Ronald Reagan." Reagan backed the nation of Poland throughout his presidency, supporting the anti-communist Solidarity movement, along with Pope John Paul II. Every year since 2002, California Governors have proclaimed February 6 "Ronald Reagan Day" in the state of California in honor of their most famous predecessor.

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Ronald Reagan Building

14th Street, NW side of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in the Federal Triangle area of Washington, D.C.

The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, named after former United States President Ronald Reagan, is the first federal building in Washington, D.C. designed for both governmental and private sector purposes. Each of the organizations located in the Pennsylvania Avenue building are dedicated to international trade and globalization. Organizations headquartered in this building include the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The first private sector lease was signed with investment banking firm Quarterdeck Investment Partners, Inc. The building hosts conferences, trade shows, cultural events, and outdoor concerts. However, post-9/11 security requirements for high-profile federal buildings have limited the extent of the public/private access anticipated by its designers.

The building is located above the Federal Triangle Metro station at what was once known as the "plague spot" in Washington, an area once populated heavily with saloons and brothels. The federal government purchased the land in the 1920s, and it was to be part of the Federal Triangle redevelopment of the late 1920s and 1930s. Until development on the current building began in 1996, the area known as the "Great Plaza" was used as a massive downtown parking lot. The building, designed by James Ingo Freed (of the architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners) and Ellerbe Becket, is located in front of the Oscar Straus Memorial.

At the time it was built, the Ronald Reagan Building was the most expensive federal building ever constructed, at a cost of $768 million. As a federal office building, it is second in size only to the Pentagon. Its naming was controversial, because Ronald Reagan was considered to be a champion of small government and this building was seen by some as an example of a government waste. The conference center hosts over 1,200 events each year, including many of Washington's annual social galas. With the city's largest parking garage, information center, and a metro rail station, the building is visited by over 1 million tourists each year. The summer concert series held on the Woodrow Wilson Plaza and the many food options draw many to the building during the lunch hour.

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Source : Wikipedia