tv First Ladies Influence Image - Nancy Reagan CSPAN July 8, 2020 8:00pm-9:35pm EDT
up from our first ladies coming up from our first ladies series, the influence of ran lindsay reagan and her role as a political partner to her husband ronald. in an hour and a half barbara bush, her role as the matriarch of the bush family. ahead here on c-span three. >> if you enjoyed watching first ladies, pick up a copy of the book first ladies, featuring profiles of the nation's first knee ladies. interviews with top historian.
available in paperback, hardcover, or as an e-book. >> nancy reagan, former first lady so, all of you, thank you for your support and to the kids for just saying no. thank you. my hope is that the women of the future will feel truly free to follow whatever paths their talents and their nature's point to. >> i think that the white house was so glamorous, and your role was so glamorous, your life was so glamorous. all they saw were the parties and the meetings. and i have to tell you, i never
worked harder in my life. >> nancy reagan served as longtime political partner, fiercest protector, and ultimately as the caretaker for president ronald reagan. >> and involved first, lady she was active in key staff decision and policymaking and in campaigning. >> good evening and welcome to suspend series first ladies influence and image. tonight what type of the story of any frances robins. notice as nancy reagan. let me introduce our two guests will be with us for the next 90 minutes. judy is come alleging editor and co-anchor of pbs is news hour. in her earlier years she covered the reagan white house from bc and later on reduced a documentary with the first lady. a californian has been covering the national politics and start
any, for and he co-wrote a book about the regan presidency with his father, lieutenant, the regan biographer. we looked at hundreds of hours a video about the reagan presidency in the suspend library and decided to start with the closing chapter. this is footage from the region funeral, when mrs. reagan said goodbye to her husband of many years, and we thought that it was symbolized very well. let's watch and talk a little bit more about the relationship. okay yeah it's hard to believe
it was nearly ten years, ago carl, cnn but as we look at, that as we've been working through the series of first ladies biographies, especially in the 20th century, many of the first ladies for political partners with their husbands. was this a particularly special political partnership? >> absolutely. it's heartbreaking. it's like she lost him twice. as she passed that, coffin imaginary padding his shoulders every night for ten years. she said goodbye to, him goodnight, and every, night it was like losing cam again. i think nancy got a rough start in this, town she got a rough start in sacramento, but she
won everyone over in the ten years that he had alzheimer's and she took care of. him >> she called it the longest goodbye, it wasn't her, words people around them called it the longest. buy it was 1994 when ronald reagan wrote the letter and announced to the world he had alzheimer's. and of course no one knew what that was. it wasn't as familiar to us as it is today. there was no way of knowing how long he would live. he would live another ten years, but out of public view. she was with him. they were in their home in bel air, and los angeles, and their closeness was with them right up until the. and and you see that in the video. >> citizen, the christening of the uss ronald reagan happened into those in. one my father and i were both
there. and after she said no, have to get. back ronny needs. mean he doesn't like. it he's agitated when i'm not in the house. she really was his caretaker. >> so not just those last ten difficult years for the two of, them let's have you both talk a little bit about what the partnership meant in terms of national politics. with each of them bring to the table politically to make this a successful quest for the white house, ultimately? >> well we could talk for a long time about that because it was a remarkable partnership. it was a strong marriage. they loved each other deeply. it was a working partnership, and that once it was clear that ronald reagan i think was interest in politics, being the spokesman for ge, traveling around the. country i believe that he was hired in 1950, 5:50, 4:50, five somewhere in there. and from that moment, on and
once the friends in los angeles sided ronald reagan would be a great candidate for governor, and, then of course he went on to be elected governor in 1960. six she was a person who, people i've talked to call her the personnel director, because she made sure that the people around her husband were people who always had his best interests that. her that was one of the principal things she brought to that relationship, always having his back. >> carl, before you, answer actually want to show a brief clip from the role of a lifetime, the pbo stocky montrealer involved with, and she's talking about what she brings to the partnership in terms of looking at for her husband. let's. what >> i see the first lady as another means of keeping the present from being isolated. i talk to, people they tell me things, and if something is about to become a problem, i'm not above calling east have person and asking about it. i'm a woman who loves her
husband, and i make no apologies for looking at for his personal and political welfare. >> so what are your thoughts on this partnership? >> she was the personnel director. sue spencer called her. that the political consultant to ran reagan's first campaign for governor 1996. and in september of 19, 80 when things started to hit a rocky road, and that campaign is in a bit of trouble, it's nancy who says where is stew? where is stu spencer? >> jerry ford had been his client. one he was going to come back to the reagan campaign full-time, there was one person he asked, is it okay, and that's. nancy >> will talk more about
the white house, we're going to go back into learn more about nancy reagan's biography. before we do that, let me tell you about how you can be involved. if you've been watching the series you know that we take your questions so you can be involved in the conversation. there's lots of ways to be involved. you can go to facebook and find suspense page. there's also a discussion underway. you can also tweet us at first. ladies and finally you can use a good old-fashioned telephone. our phone lines will be open. 200 to 585 3880. let's go back to where she was born. her early days weren't easy, can you tell us about that. >> while it wasn't the smoothest childhood. her mother was an actress,
edith look at. her father, kenneth robins, had been a salesman. the marriage between edith and kenneth didn't last long. nancy i think was around two when they divorced. her mother really wanted her acting career, and she wanted a safe place for nancy. so from the time that she was too until she was eighth, when mrs. luckett remarried, with her, aren't nazis, on her mother, sister in testa, maryland, red outside of washington. >> so nancy lived in a suburban neighborhood, she was in the center of every conversation. life of the party. her aunt was more quiet. i think the rules were fairly. strict but it was a tough time. nancy herself talked in the
interview we did for the documentary about how she missed her mother, and that she would be thrilled when her mother came to visit. so it was rocky for a few years. >> life changed for nancy when her mother married a chicago physician. >> there was money. he was successful. she went to boarding school. she went to smith college. he was the doting parent and she lacked. >> it gave her an idea of what a family could be. and from that moment forward, she had an idea of what she wanted to be, and what she wanted out of life, and she wanted to build a family, you know, that was the family she didn't have. something that she and reagan had in common. she went to hollywood after smith. she went to the theater, and then she moved out to, hollywood but she was typecast. she was typecast in the phrase
gary wills said, a study, woman and that's what she was. >> so stanford brown on twitter wants to know about the relationship between first ladies by asking, did nancy reagan and barbara bush know each other as students at smith college? >> barbara bush didn't graduate. she was only there a year or two. i don't think, so but that's actually a good question. >> but we know nancy reagan went to new york to try her hand at acting, right out of. smith she was in new york a few years before she move to hollywood. she had a contract with mgm, and she talks about it. >> arrival of ron studio, from warner brothers. >> also on twitter, one of our viewers whose tweet is not coming up nicely for me, sheldon cooper is asking about her stepfather and his influence on her politics.
>> victor davis was very active in conservative politics. >> he was a republican, and i think that did influence. her but on their first date, reagan is already discussing politics. he talks about communism, he doesn't like communism. this is 1949. she would have been conditioned by loyal davis to be receptive to ronny's message, as she called. him >> how did the two meet? >> it's an interesting stories, susan. this is hollywood in the late forties when there was of course the communist. here it was the end of world war one. , people were named as being associated with their communist party. nancy davis showed up on a black list, as someone in the hollywood community who had something to do with the communist party. and she knew that that was not
her, and she wanted to get her name off, and she called her good, friend i believe he was a producer, marvin lee roy, she, said how can i get this done? he said i know ronald reagan. the president of the screen actors guild. she said as soon as i heard that i knew who ronald reagan was, and i was very interested. and she said, absolutely, call him, up i'd be glad to meet with him. and so marine le roy calls up ronald reagan. one thing led to another. it was a, meeting that it became a. dinner and she tells a funny story about how they both agreed to go to dinner but they insisted it would be an early, evening because they both had a early. call neither of them. did he several hollywood ruse. >> they didn't end it early
because they don't have anywhere to be the next morning. >> but that was 1952. so they had a three-year courtship before she married. we have visited the region library. you'll be seeing some of the video of the people we met, there and tell the story of nancy and ronald reagan. it's on the two of, them the love letters they shared. >> she was asked if it was love at first sight, she said no, but it was pretty darn close. she's a sentimental woman. she kept mementos of the relationship, from letters, to wedding bouquets, all of these artifacts are on display in the museum, and document how important they work to each other. one of the other interesting things that we have here which is very symbolic of their intense relationship, is a
letter that president reagan wrote to his wife in 1953, when he was staying in new york and he was staying at the cheri neverland hotel, and he wrote a very charming letter to her. he read it as if she had actually joined him at dinner. and you can see how creative he was. the final page of the cheri netherlands letter is very touching. let's take a look at that page, along with some of the other artifacts in the collection. so that is that fourth page of the cheri netherlands letter. and it's where president reagan expresses his heartfelt feelings to his wife. this was written in 1953, about a year and a half after they were married. and he says, i suppose some people would find unusual, that you and i can easily spend 3000 miles, but in truth, it comes very naturally. we had can't live without a hurt. you are my heart. but for the nicest thing about
me and so very necessary. there would be no life without you, nor would i want any. i love you. signed the eastern half of us. recently mrs. reagan had given us this little box of treasured keep six of hers. so we were pleased to receive them because there were some interesting stories inside. here back in 1950, when nancy reagan received her own dressing room when she was under contract with empty, i'm so great the moment ronald reagan went to a jeweler in beverly hills, and had a special he made for her, a key for that dressing room, and it has a image of thespian on the front and the back. she thought that was such a nice idea that two years later, after they were married and they got their first, home shed he's made for the first. home and there's a little house on the top.
it's engraved with their initials. mrs. and mr. reagan's initials. but on his, key right above his, initials in her handwriting engraved, it says our first. what were there early married years? like >> well, susan, as we said they were married in 1950. two and actually, their daughter, patty, was born in 1950. two she pretty much give up her movie career. she had been getting some roles fairly steadily. his career was actually the one that was stalling out at that point, and then the ge offer came along. but she became the homemaker. she essentially gave up, she did if television rules i think over that first decade of their marriage. but mainly she devoted herself to being his wife, the mother of patty, who is the daughter of them, her family was her
life. she devoted all her time to. that there's a little story, nancy went to work for ge, ge had this all electric house built for, them which had every imaginable special feature in it, you know, automatic drip closures, you push a button, the kinds of things that we wouldn't think much of today. back then it was a big deal. but she devoted herself to that. and then, eventually as he became closer to thinking about politics, he became closer to the wives. and ronald reagan, as a diverse, dad brought to children to the marriage, marine and michael reagan. by the time the family came on to the national stage, for some the governor's mansion in california, and then of course in the white house years, the family relationship became great interest to the public. and there were suggestions that
there were tensions between the kids. in fact, one of our viewers refers to this. why did she have strained relationship with the reagan kids? what is the relationship like with her kids and stepson? now we have another clip from a documentary and it actually talks about the rugged partnership and its effect on children. so let's listen to ron reagan talking about life inside the reagan household from his perspective. welcome back to. >> we were conscious i think growing, up all of us, i know i was, there were two sets of people. to definite and distinct sorts of people involved in the family. there was my mother and father. and there was everybody else. while we were all part of the family, when push came to shove, there was a distinction to be made, that you know, it really wasn't like, it wasn't like, be
seen and not, heard but we were expected to put ourselves in second place to whatever they were doing. >> carl, cannon looking you add to this part of the story? >> will ron regan junior, the family qassem skipper. he had a book party here three or four years ago in washington, i was there any tell the story. the same theme about social distance. you know there's two kinds of. fathers there's the kind who looks at the window and see if there could playing football and joins the. game and then there's a kind who goes back to work. his dad was the type that played with the kids. when you keep hearing what the social distance that reagan had with his children, with people, he taught those kids to summon ride. he played ball with all of them. he was very involved.
in his own mind, he was a family man. first he separated the hollywood people into two groups, people with multiple marriages, family. people he was a divorced dad, he didn't think of himself that way. michael writes about it years later, when michael admits he was abused by a camp counselor. he tells the story of nancy being very much attuned to him, and feeling his pain, and reagan's eyes kind of glazing over, that there's this emotional distance that's very subtle. everyone talks but. it even nancy talks about it. and sometimes people would blame nancy, white house aides would blame. her but nancy she was told my dad, after they left the white house, you can just get so far with ronny and then something happens. it took a long time i think to feel that he could even trust
me. >> before we leave the hollywood years of their, life alligator tableau on twitter asked this question. was ronald and nancy's conservativism unusual in 19 fifties? hollywood >> i don't know from the right person to ask this to. there were some other conservatives in the community, but ultimately i think the folks who supported ronald reagan and his candidacy, which would be ten plus years after he left hollywood as an actor, people who were not in the movie. industry >> they were personal friends. >> they were personal. friends >> people just like. that >> i wouldn't say that conservatives were necessarily in the minority, but they probably weren't in the majority. either >> when reagan runs in
1966 against pat brown, who had been a popular
two term governor of california, he'd beaten return dixon like a champ in 90 60. two but path that it would be wise to run against reagan as an actor. he would, say he's an actor, the way it would say you know, he's an idiot. and people figured well why doesn't this is what he strategy? well my dad, like so many of these, things figured out because his people were off from northern california and 60% of the voters were then in southern california, and they were proud of the movie industry. and there was a telethon that the democrats ran in which they were criticizing reagan for being an actor, and jack plants was there, and he stormed. off he's one of, us they were proud of him. >> we're going to take a few
phone, calls and then will learn how meghan partnership
took them from hollywood to the governor's mansion in california. fills washing us, watching us in north california. your first caller. >> i was up in the reagan library, beautiful complex. i recommend it to everybody, whether you agree with president reagan's politics or not, or nazi ratings politics. but i was kind of struck by something, the omission, we only saw me one line about gene, women and not knowing a lot but the blatant ship or whatever. i was just wondering what the dynamic was between the radiance and jane woman. i thought it was odd that there was only one little line, mrs. reagan was obviously control of the presidential library being created. i was just wondering if you had any insight on. that really appreciate the
program. >> thanks for asking. i don't know that we know very much about that. we do know that jane was ronald reagan's first, wife they had two adopted children, and that those children were part of the reagan family after reagan and jane got divorced. but there isn't a lot of discussion that i've heard in all my years covering the radiance of jane. >> well reagan felt very hurt by what happened in that marriage, but she never gave interviews. she never talked about. reagan she wasn't part of the political story, she was part of their personal story. >> keith is in green, up illinois. >> hi keith, iran. >> thank you for taking my
call. i heard or read somewhere that nancy was really into astrology, and thinks of that. swore and is it true that she had held stances in the wheat house. >> that would be mary todd lincoln, the seance. is our caller made the same mistake the president of the united states, the current president made. but nancy did consult astrologer after ronald reagan was shot, and she did so because she was desperate for anything, anything she could, have that didn't have much, to control his schedule, and so she consulted and astrologer. this came out in don reagan's book, he wrote a kiss and tell book. bob gates. >> that came out, it was a mild embarrassment. most americans thought that this woman had been so traumatized for her husband
nearly being killed that she wanted to consult in astrologer to find out what was in a right to do. >> we'll talk more about that later on as we get into the white house. jordan is in town a wanda. >> my grandmother has the same birth as nancy reagan. she was born july 6th, 1920. she was my favorite first lady. did her mother lived to be almost 100 and white house? >> her mother love to be elderly, i don't know how old she was when she died. >> do you remember if she was around for the inauguration? >> i don't remember if she was around for the inauguration. >> i don't either. but i do think the colors grandmother was when you order the nancy. >> yeah, 1921 was her actual birthday. >> well gary robinson, and this helps us to transition from the
ge years and the screen actors guild years into politics. she learned to like it because she loved ronny? did nancy personally like politics? >> the latter, shouldn't love politics. she was a built for. politics she came to sacramento 1960, seven shouldn't like the town, the town reciprocated those feelings. she was asked to move to the governor's mansion, a dilapidated victorian structure downtown on any one way street, i think it's 16th street. i went to the high school and junior high school in sacramento. but when she took skipper, up he would've been it then. the protocol was that there was a dresser across the, room he is supposed to get behind, it
ram it into the window, pop out the window, and then climb down the rope ladder. he was. a so nancy decided they weren't going to live, there they move to the sacramento, and that started and uneasy relationship with the sacramento press corps and the democrats in legislature. >> i have an answer to john's question. >> edith luckett died in 1980, seven she was alive for most of the reagan presidency. >> i wrote a couple of bullets points down about her role as california's first. lady a first lady of the united states she was openly critical from time to time of ronald reagan, governor reagan staff. she was criticized by the press for her glamorous friends and expensive lifestyle, and active in a number of issues, including the veterans and foster grandparents and wrote a
syndicated column. my notation next to that was pre-surges white house years, because those are many of the same things that, >> i think that she developed a thick skin during that. period she didn't like the criticism of her husband, and she talked about. that she talked about how when they came to sacramento, she thought, she knew it was not going to be easy, but she underestimated how much the press was going to be critical of politicians. i think that she developed a thicker skin. and the way the press went after, her she had to develop an even thicker skin, because as carl said, it had to do with the house, and the press had a testy relationship for that time. >> well, she shopped in beverly hills, and sacramento, didn't have stress like. that sacramento gets very hot
in the summer. she hated the sacramento, be the dominant newspaper, a very democratic. newspaper she stopped, counseled the subscription, and told people about this. he read it in his office. i think of the sacramento years and away actually of the time reagan took care, for the same way that she took care of him in washington. i think in those ways, she was a little brittle. joan wrote a piece for the saturday evening, post a very harsh story, basically made fun of the, gays you know, we all talked about that adoring look that she gave. reagan jones that it was. phony it might have no idea but it was genuine. and she felt picked. on reagan protected her in this time. you've mentioned the staff. she treated the stuff like
servants, was one of their complaints. so all of these things, i think in those years she had the rough edges, and reagan had to smooth them off. >> that was when she learned how to be a political spouse. she learned the bad comes with the great moments, where you feel terrific and appreciated, and then there are tough moments. i think that is what has helped her prepare, as you say for the presidency. >> she also had these calls, carl anthony did a lecture series, 90, four that's where he didn't. he's a first lady biographer, and he found her interested in drugs and youth as early as 1967. you mentioned veterans. she was the one who helped get reagan interested in these p.o.w., and led to john mccain. >> and so the other thing about
sacramento that you notices all these causes, >> she because of the children, and grandchildren of her friends were certain to have issues, and she saw that when her husband was governor of california, and then she carried on, because drug abuse became a bigger issue. >> so we have a nicely answered question, which was did nancy have issues in california that expanded as first lady? >> this is duncan who is in retail, ohio. >> yes thank you,. >> you know what the bohemian grove as? >> george schultz belongs to it. all i can tell you, this is very interact, was that when she was first lady, they walk
around the red woods naked and do other things that seem out of time. but george schultz is one of the great members of the bohemian grove, and nancy was very close, tim so apparently shouldn't hold it against you if you are a member. the calls between shelton and see this coming out as the scholarship, the papers are being, released many more conversations, alliances between them then we know. >> now there's a much too long and complicated political story to be told about ronald reagan's career from leaving the governed ship in 75 and melting the first presidential challenge one later in 1970. six let's look at it from the first ladies perspective. what was nancy's role in encouraging reagan to seek the challenge against gerald ford in 1976? >> there was a group of influential, wealthy republican men, mostly men, and nancy was very close friends with the wives. and it was simplifies-ing to
some extent because clearly it was a large circle of. people there weren't just men with their eyes on the country, we remember that when barry goldwater run for president, ronald reagan gave a much commented on. speech >> the speech. >> that right. that was the coming out speech for ronald reagan. and all of those forces, those disparate forces came together while he was still on the governors. office and they jailed, more are, less and that year after, so that in 1976 when gerald ford was running for election, ronald reagan popped on the public consciousness as a very,
appealing conservative potential challenger for gerald fareed. >> well, remember he already ran in 1968 for president. i have a story about nancy in the oral yeast presidential conversation. maureen reagan is writing her dad, letters and they communicated. they wrote all these letters back and forth, and she's trying to encourage him to run for governor. and she says she doesn't really know how far down the road he is with this political, thing because she says you could be governor. he writes, back well if we want to talk about what i, could be i could be president. this is 1960, five he hasn't run for anything. so they're gonna do an intervention, and nancy is on the side of the stepdaughter, they both are telling him to run for governor. first reagan says it's two against one, that's how
involved nancy was in the earliest conversations about politics. >> so the challenge ultimately was unsuccessful. there was a discussion of a cool presidency that went nowhere in kansas city in 1970. six how did they spend the next four years until the 80 campaign? >> well, organizing for the real. >> it wasn't completely spontaneous. after 70, six when ronald reagan showed that he had the kind of substantial support in the republican party from the non-, it was an all out effort to win the nomination in 1980, and to go on to win the white house. that doesn't mean that he was a shoe. and there were other republicans running. there were still people arguing he was too conservative, a quote unquote war monger, he was known to have strong anti soviet. views you know, i covered the
carter white house during those, years and reagan's name would come up and the critic would say, well, he's the one who's got his finger on the bomb. and so there was a lot of this rhetoric flying around. so this was by no means a walk in for him. but when the time came, he had the people, he had the money. >> well, they were out in california, living and it was like he was the nominee in waiting for four years. it was very interesting, the only thing that is even remotely like it, is what's going on right. now she had the nomination handed to her. he had the, many support, the republican party was in transition, and it was going to be ronald reagan's party. there were people in the east didn't realize that, but that's how it proved to be true, nancy sure that it was true. >> and in 1980, we're going to
have the fast forward here. joe lot of history. >> are you going to slow? >> we've got a lot to cover. ultimately it was a landslide against the incumbent president, jimmy carter, frigid 89 to four d nine electoral college votes for the sitting president. can we talk about that really unbelievable integration, day when the country had been waiting for the hostages to come, home and it happened just as the president was being sworn? and while it was an extraordinary time. i tell this from the perspective of the carter white house, because i was covering jimmy carter, and they had a very painful final year of the presidency, for all the world to see, the hostages had been taken at the u.s. embassy in tehran. they were being held by iranian extremists. jimmy carter and his administration did everything
they could, including, you know, among other things, the field rescue mission, where a helicopter went, down and it was a humiliating episode in the carter presidency. no doubt, it wasn't the only reason jimmy carter lost the reelection, but it was a big factor. >> and what was the mood in the country about the change in leadership? >> well, on inauguration day, reagan and deliver came up with a plan. the plan was, while the hostages were being released. they were being released well regional still speaking. >> this was done deliberately by the iranians to spite to be. carter >> but there was some thought there would be people of side of the iranian estes while reagan was still speaking after he'd taken the oath of office. reagan, the plan that reagan and diver agreed on is that reagan would call on carter,
and that wouldn't have to be on the podium. that would be dramatic. but only if the hostages were released. it was a partner or reagan. >> we'll just 59 days into this new presidency, and we've already heard a color asked about. it jean handily attempted ronald reagan's life at the washington elton. we have an interview with nancy reagan and 1999. she took us around the reagan library, and she spoke to us about that day. let's listen. >> we got downstairs, and he kept saying, i'm going to the hospital, and he said it's not necessary. he hasn't been hurt. it's not necessary. and i said, george, you either get the car, or i'm going to walk. >> and we got to the hospital.
and mike driver met me at the hospital, he said he has been shot. and there were police all around, and a lot of noise, they put me in a little small room. there was one desk and one share. that was it. i kept wanting to see ronny. and they kept saying well he's all right, but you can't see. him and i can't say if he's all right why can't i see him? finally they let me see him. he was lying there, with a
thing that helped him breathe. i lifted it up and that's when he said honey i forgot to duck. >> how did the assassination attempt change a brand-new presidency? >> i was part of the press pull that day. it's a time i will never forget. it made her much more protective. she was already completely focused on him and his safety, but after this you could argue this was her so focused. at one point, she said when he left to go somewhere i didn't breathe deeply until he came back. it made her much more calm talking with astrology.
she was looking for everyone to keep him safe. of course as president he would be out and about. she ensured there were many people around him so that he was doing whatever was the safest possible thing. it made her even more determined to keep him healthy. >> just one comment about that. four americans of their generation, it's the line that jack dempsey used when he lost a heavyweight championship of the world, his face was all battered. she said what happened? that was your pet name. he said honey everett to duck. it was reported in newspapers at the time. it made dempsey the he hero. he lost his bravado. i think that the same thing is
true of reagan. this was recorded in the press here. americans admired reagan for it, they realized he was trying to reassure his wife. >> ronald reagan endeared him, nancy reagan's first here in the white house was difficult. some folks suggested that it was a disastrous debut for the first. lady at the end of the year the approval rating was 20% 6%. what were some of the reasons that it was a challenging first-year for them? >> well in california where she found a governor's mansion she felt was unsafe and not up to the standards of what white house's post. we she felt that there were repairs that needed to be done.
she felt the furniture was shabby. she was looking for refurbishing. a poll strength of the furniture. she said i loved entertaining, it's a way to connect with people. she raised the money to buy a set of china she wanted to host a dinner with. she's always been a woman who cared about her appearance. combined the effort to redecorate the white house, and put it all together, this was a woman who cared about things didn't matter. it didn't go over very well. they, jumped and that
contributed to the outcome. >> what is the difference between kennedy telling him where fashionable european design closed and reagan doing? it >> it's a fair question. she came here, it's déjà vu all over. again she expects washington to be more sophisticated. it's. not designers criticize her. she shopped at bloomingdales, they criticized her for. that there's an ig website, i don't frequented, often it's mostly about sex and younger peoples staff, but i was on recently to see how they ranked the sexist first ladies in history, you'd be surprised reagan was high up.
jackie kennedy is number one. they don't have to explain, it they showed the picture, she's a glamorous young woman. jack he could do things no one else couldn't. >> to have any comment on the difference? >> it was a different time. it was heading off the as an our presidency, there was a difference in, age appearance. a lot of people were obviously divisive, that was a time when americans were excited, it was 20 years later. the country was probably getting a little bit cynical, watergate and vietnam. they weren't as willing to just accept whatever it was that the present was doing. >> take a call from michael in
pennsylvania. michael. we are on. welcome. >> thank. you this is a great show. my question is politically was their eighth position that they sometimes disagreed upon, or that the staff disagreed? upon >> were there any issues that the rains didn't see eye to eye on? >> not that i know of. for the staff, absolutely. there was open warfare on many issues, ran contracts. dealing with the soviet union. nancy what push, nancy had it when to, feel she would put in one direction. she pushed, reagan they saw that i. she pushed against that.
she pushed against someone who she felt and have their agenda at heart. there are differences in the reagan and administration, there's no difference being in the reagan family, and 76, she's called up to the stage, the talk about armageddon, nuclear war. that is what reagan wanted. she pushed in that direction, shouldn't push against reagan, she didn't really know what reagan wanted. >> i think that she was a moderate influence on women. she wanted for him the best, she wanted him to be the best president, possible she want him to have a great legacy. a legacy of moderation. they didn't disagree, certainly
not a public. there was no question that she worked very hard behind the scenes, to make sure that president reagan was listening to those who were leading. >> said well. age is an issue that came up. and on age there were people in the white house who felt that reagan should speak out on it early on, nancy was on the side of the people who wanted reagan to talk about it. he never mentions until 1987, in 1987 he gave a speech. he didn't trust that the white house domestic policy shop would say what you want the reagan to say. he came back and was writing the speeches, and part of an would get some pushback.
finally he said this is how she wants. it >> the first lady was having trouble with her public image in the press corps, and there were approaches to help to try and keep change that. one of those came in 1980, two with an event in washington d.c., an annual president or called the grid iron club. nancy reagan appeared before the grid iron club, which is full of political skits impurities, and it was a game-changer. we're going to listen to her talking about that in the 1988 interview with general, journalist patrick, smith and she'll talk about her parity and why she approached the issue of her popularity this way. >> secondhand clothes, secondhand clothes, they're all the, rage at the spring fashion shows. even my new trench coat with four, color ronny but for ten
cents on the dollar. second and gowns, hold hand me downs, the china is the only thing that's near. even though they tell me i'm no longer queen, did ronny have to buy me that news sewing machine? secondhand clothes, secondhand clothes, i sure hope ed niece sows. >> i came around to thinking well albright, will try. i mean it can't be worse than it, was you? no >> originally they thought that i would make fun of the press. i said no, no, no, i'm not gonna do that. the only way we can do this is if i make fun of myself. if i make fun of myself,!
then maybe i have a 50/50 chance here. as you all, know that first year was not, nobody was really crazy about me. and i don't think i'd have been crazy about me, reading what i did about me. >> the press was rough. >> the press was rough. i don't really know, why because it started before even got here. they didn't know me. i never figured out why. >> i don't know until i read in your book that they were having meetings about me, over the west wing, that i was a liability, and everything like that. i guess maybe i was. i was pretty gun-shy.
i mean it had been rough. and your inclination is to run and hide and a closet, and lock yourself in. what is that rough, which is the wrong thing to do. but i do. >> nancy reagan (end video clip) >> seems very self-aware of what was happening in washington. >> her instincts were exactly right on. she had self-deprecating humor. she made fun of herself and the press ate it up, the city ate it up. the country, it was -- it turned an important corner for her.
>> carl cannon, another thing that nancy reagan did was pick up a theme you mentioned that she'd been involved in, in california, and that is an anti-drug campaign, which became the "just say no" campaign. people criticize her is being simplistic. how political was this? n' + >> well, first ladies are supposed to have a signature issue, and this was something she actually cared about and she knew about, and this was a phrase that was in the movement, in the anti-drug movement among the psychologists, "just say no." they're always thinking of some way to approach young people. it's not easy. and nancy seized on it and popularized it.n' + >> and she -- you know, some people criticized her for it, because -- as being maybe simplistic, but her answer to that was disarming and she said, if it saves one child's life, it's worth it. >> and, in fact, the numbers suggested that over the course of the eight years in the white house, drug use among young people did decline. i don't know if it was a result directly of this campaign, but she also had other recognitions. she was invited to speak before the united nations, first first lady ever to do that, and talk about issues. she also because of this effort was the first first lady
recognized by the president in a state of the union address, as he was leaving. >> in 1986, the two of them -- and this is, again, another first -- sat down before television cameras to talk about the anti-drug efforts. we're going to watch a clip from that next and talk about how they used television to connect with the american public. let's watch. >> (begin video clip) >> nancy reagan to young people watching or listening, i have a very personal message for you. there's a big wonderful world out there for you. it belongs to you. it's exciting and stimulating and rewarding. don't cheat yourselves out of this promise. our country needs you, but it needs you to be clear-eyed and clear-minded. >> nancy reagan i recently read one teenager's story. she's now determined to stay clean, but was once strung out on several drugs. what she remembered most clearly about her recovery was that during the time she was on drugs, everything appeared to her in shades of black and gray. and after her treatment, she
was able to see colors again. >> nancy reagan so to my young friends out there, life can be great, but not when you can't see it. so open your eyes to life, to see it in the vivid colors that god gave us as a precious gift to his children, to enjoy life to the fullest and to make it count. say yes to life. and when it comes to drugs and alcohol, just say no. >> i think you can see why nancy has been such a positive influence on all that we are trying to do. the job ahead of us is very clear. nancy's personal crusade, like that of so many other wonderful individuals, should become our national crusade. >> carl canon, another interesting thing throughout the 200 years of history has been how white houses used the media. in this case we have two people who had acting as their profession and television was in its ascendancy as a political force. how did they use it in the
white house? >> well, you think this, everybody talks about reagan was an actor, but she was an actor as well. she was on the stage. she had 12 feature films. the comfort level of these two behind the camera, it's the envy of every political couple, and they used it as easily as you and i would just pick up the telephone and call a friend, and that's what they showed. >> and even the little things. >> you know, she's talking about color and she's wearing a red dress, and they understood the lighting, they understood the message, how the message should go with the pictures. they really got it all, and it was almost second nature to them both. i want to move to the second term in the white house, again, full of so many issues. in brief, some of them included the soviet summit, which included concluded with the arms treaty, the explosion of the challenge or -- any of us alive at that time certainly remember that day well -- the iran contra affair, we'll
take a little bit about the effect on the presidency and how nancy was involved in that, and the iran iraq war. then -- she working the criticism. does she become a positive political force for the white house in the second term? >> it was different. i mean, she was burned by the experience of the first year or so, and she came out of that and really was always very careful in her dealings with the press, was very sparing in the interview she gave. and as carl said, i mean, she has a presence about her, a poise, and she was able to, i think, communicate in a way that, you know, was very helpful to the white house. >> and i think -- but the second term was very different from the first time in that way. by then, they both had learned a lot, but it was also rough as we know presidents second terms can be rough. and the problems came, and you just listed several of. them >> lucy is watching us in
wisconsin. hi lucy. have a question for? us >> yes i do. it goes back to the jacqueline kennedy nancy reagan episode, with both of them pretty much having the same interest and changing the white house. i guess i just sent such a double standard with the press. i have no problem with the press reporting. i have a problem with the press shaping the image. they gave -- and i cared a lot about the kennedy's. i truly did. but they gave them a free pass on many issues, and they just kind of rip nancy reagan apart, and i just felt like that was a bit unfair. and i don't know if that will ever change. it just doesn't seem to me to be in my lifetime, anyway, but i just wanted if you could address. that >> i do think -- lucy, i do think i was a different it was a different. time i think we talked about this a little bit a few minutes ago, but i really do believe, in the sixties, the country was
-- and of the press corps was just much more accepting of politicians, of presidents. you didn't -- i mean, look at what we now know jack kennedy, you know, at least part of the time was doing in his private life. the press completely did not report on that. but 20 years -- but 20 years later, we had -- been the country had been through watergate, had been through vietnam, and just many more questions about whether our leaders were telling the truth. and i just think there was a much bigger -- much greater reluctance to believe our eyes. i don't mean me, but i mean the presses eyes. and i think that reflected the way the country felt as well. there were some criticisms we talked about, about the sense of style and fashion that she brought to the white house and whether that was appropriate for the times. but they did use the white house extensively to entertain and to promote their political agenda, as most presidents have over the course of history. we are going to show you our next little bit of how the
reagan library presents nancy reagan's style. we will watch. >> so as the first lady of california, nancy reagan knew how important it was for her to dress appropriately, and this gold lame down is from the second inaugural. there is a matching dress underneath, and it was designed by one of her favorite designers of designed for her the white house years, also. that was james galliano's. this peach dress is mrs. regions like you dress. she wore this when she attended the national republican convention in 1980, when her husband was nominated to become president of the united states, and she always loved it. hello it was designed by a doleful. it was a very flattering color. she liked to wear it, she wore it quite a bit, and it was one of her favorites. in 1985, president reagan flew to geneva to meet with the general secretary gorbachev,
their first meeting, their first summit and mrs. reagan wrote this suit to that meeting she wore the suit. she had lunch with miss gorbachev and this hands to the suit was designed by james galliano's. one of the truly most important class addresses that she wore and colors that she wards exemplified in this portrait dressed by james. she word for her official portrait but she also wore it to a number of other events and it's quite elegance and stunning. >> from her style, i want to ask about the use of the white house for entertaining. there were lots of state dinners, it seemed, during the region years. how did they use? them >> they use them strategically. number one, they liked entertaining. i mean, having come from hollywood, the social life was important to them. the nancy reagan herself talks about this. and when i interviewed her a couple of years ago, she said, you know, this is an opportunity to play host to a visiting head of state. you invite -- she said, anybody will come.
and they -- of course, they would have -- you know, whoever the hollywood stars of the time -- or from frank sinatra to elizabeth taylor, and you name it, i mean, you're invited to the white house state dinner and you come, and that's true today for any president. >> but the regions were very conscious of that and they were conscious that they could make a splash, impress there against, and she also said and you can get business done on these occasions. so they used them -- yes, they were social, but they were also business. >> you talk briefly about the relationship with the gorbachev's? we've learned so often that on the diplomatic stage, personal relationships can have very important effects on the outcome. what was important to note about these two couples and their relationship? >> well, now, that's ... >> that's not the one that was ...
>> that's the lady di there. >> right, sure. >> well, reagan -- look, reagan thought he could do business with gorbachev. that's the phrase he used to his eighth. he brought his number one ally to the summit. and his -- the speeches he kept getting changed in the white house speech writing shot. and illegal black, who's been on this show, who's a first lady historian, credits nancy with pushing reagan -- to helping regan pushback. there was another guy named john matt lock, who is the soviet expert and there were a lot of people including reagan himself. >> but reagan kept saying to anybody who would listen on the staff, i can do business with this guy. i don't want to be calling him names. and so -- and nancy -- he took nancy there as an ally to show the world that the two couples could get along and maybe the two countries could
get along. >> and while we're talking about entertaining, there is a pbs connection. she continued the tradition of lives events from the white house on a cultural stage, introducing the public to some of the musicians another cultural events in the country. >> and that's a tradition that continues to this day, in performance at the white house. in fact there was just not long ago, the obamas hosted one of these. it became regular. >> i think jackie kennedy started. that >> she did, another connection between the two first ladies. floyd is in the lake forest, california. >> hi floyd. you are. on floyd, are you there? >> yes. i had a question about -- how do the regions interact with prince charles in princess diana when they went to visit the white house in 85 or 86? so, thank you. >> okay, thanks. we just saw some video that visit. do you have any memories of? it >> i don't -- i wasn't covering the white house then, so i don't remember. i know that it was everybody in the world, you know who wanted
to be at the white house probably wanted to be at that state dinner. well >> let's move on from there, because our time is going short, to an event that became very important in the ultimate disposition of the reagan white house, and that's the iran contra investigation. again, from the perspective of the first lady this was a real crisis in confidence for the presidency. what was nancy reagan's role in counseling the president on how to approach? this >> well, she did two things. she thought it was a threat. she didn't think reagan had done anything wrong, but she recognized it as a threat to his presidency, and she did two things. she doubled down on the negotiation -- with on getting reagan to negotiate with gorbachev, which we were just talking about. she encouraged that because she thought that would be a better way to change the conversation. but the other thing she did -- and i would -- i'll just say, i haven't mentioned him a lot on the show, but i probably should -- have my father who is really reagan's preeminent biographer -- can i say? that i think ... >> you only one and only lou cannon, you
absolutely can say that. well >> his view is -- and he taught me that as recently as an hour ago in the green -- room was that he thought the most important contribution nancy made as fiercely was pushing on rain and maybe apology on iran contra and that it may have saved his presidency. >> to get out in front of the story? >> well, and to, you know, finally come out there and -- say you know, he had that funny speech. >> it took him a. while >> yeah. >> the president -- >> yeah, he didn't really get out in front of. it >> it was an agonizing period when the president just did not want to acknowledge that this had taken place. and ultimately, what he said was it happened, and i didn't -- >> i can't believe i did this, but -- >> i can't believe that it happened. it was sort of a convoluted explanation, but he did say that it -- was in essence, that it was a
mistake. and that broke the ice. the american people turned at that point. >> so i want to underscore this, that we're talking about the image an influence of the firstly. and your father's opinion as biographer, this was a key moment in the presidency. >> and maybe her most important contribution, and she had many of them. i mean, we were talking earlier about that grittier and dinner in 1982, but people forget -- that by the second term, by 1986, regan at the white house correspondents dinner is joking about nancy's influence. he says she and don reagan, who was the second chief of staff, and nancy was known to be trying to get rid of him, and finally did help get rid of him, and reagan says at this dinner, don reagan and as he had a lunch just two of them the other day and that they brought -- but they each brought their tasters. >> and so by -- you know, by the second term,
nancy's influences acknowledge on the staff, on policy -- and >> can ever knowledge did as much as others. did >> the president. did >> but was very much. there >> in 1987, next to last year the reagan administration, nancy reagan was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. she decided to go to public with this? >> she did. she talked about it and handled it with grace. and i think -- this this was another, i think, event that drew the public to her, because she was able to talk about it. and as you say, she has said to me and made -- it by no means was this something that was easy to go through. but the fact that she could talk about it at a time when it was still kind of hush hush. i mean, that he ford had been thrown episodes, would but i think for nancy reagan to do this made a big difference.
already >> going to hear one last piece of nancy reagan in her own voice, looking at a role is a guardian of ronald reagan in the white house. this is her talking about her political antenna. let's watch. >> i think i just had little antennas that went up and told me when somebody had their own agenda and not ronny's. and then i tell him. he didn't always agree with me but i would tell him, and it usually worked out. >> it was the first thing that you had noticed when somebody had their own agenda? >> i -- you just know. you just -- you can't say. there's something that you -- you just know if you are -- if you have those and tennis. antennas were probably directed at white house chief of staff don reagan, who ultimately lost his job and some of that was over the disagreement with the iran contra affair and how that was playing out. he wrote, as you called it, a kiss and tell book. what did we learn about the relationship through that?
well >>, we learned that this is -- you want to get back at her, i guess, and the a strutted interesting thing was his -- was a poisonous arrow in the quiver. but, you know we knew that there -- was they had different ideas of what reagan ought to be doing. when nancy said she had antennae, you know she also listen. she was a careful listener. she tried to get george h. w. bush to help her get rid of don reagan, and he told her, it is not my job. she said, well it is your job, and she's talking to vice president of the united states. then later, in 1988, when bush is running for president in his own right, he promises he will have a kinder and gentle or country. and nancy's acerbic aside to a friend is, kind kinder and gentler than whom? so yeah, nancy paid attention to what was said. but don reagan wasn't the first one. i mean she was instrumental earlier in the presidency in the removal of william clark as
the first national security adviser, because she felt he took too hard align against the soviets. she wasn't the only one, but she played a big role. there >> a few stories that really demonstrator political intent on behalf of her husband and her influence inside the white house. >> it's what we said earlier about her being the personal director. it was a personal director -- somebody said that human resources department in the personal director for the president. january 1989, they turned or the white house to mr. reagan's vice president, the bushes george h. w. bush. and we have about 15 minutes to talk about a very long post presidency. as we said at the beginning, that was marked fairly soon with the announcement president reagan's alzheimer's. >> before that, in very sort short order, this memoir came out. this was just a 1989, so she clearly been working on it during at least the latter part of house white house. here's >> my turn is the name of it. so her turn out wet? how did she use this book?
well. -- >> well, she used -- it she talked about some of these aides, and you know, she told her side of the story. but the book doesn't have any surprising revelations in, it's not really. if you knew about. nancy she talks about how she supported the president. she supported reagan. and she makes, you know her -- you might say she wanted it both ways. she was very powerful but if you crossed or you feel that, but if you said that she was powerful, she would think you were dissing reagan and she just put pushback on. you >> also, during that time, the opening of the reagan library. and how did the reagan's raise the money for this library? and how did they use the library? >> well, they raise -- that they went to their friends, many of whom gave a lot of money but they -- also threw the foundations. i mean, they work very hard -- to mrs. reagan and initially to the president before he became ill, this was the way of not only telling ronald reagan's
story, but i think today it is seen as a way of maintaining rana reagan's legacy. i mean, we know in the republican party today ronald reagan is still very much a revered figure as his nancy reagan. >> and the library is part of -- not only to begin telling what ronald reagan did as president, but what he believed in, but also perpetuating some of those. use they hold seminars. they hold -- there are speeches they host there. speakers comment speak about causes. here are some pictures of the library. it's a beautiful setting right there on the california coast. >> philip is watching us in brooklyn. >> yes thank you, susan. a wonderful program. i love it. let me see at the outset, that in the interest of full disclosure, i just love mrs. reagan. and the first thing i have to say is, i've watched every episode of the series so far, how nice it was to find out that nancy was not the first lady -- the first first lady that wanted to bring new china into the white house. i was very happy to hear that there were other first ladies that wanted to do that as well. and speaking about china --
and they mention it because nancy he -- didn't go on for a week or a month. it went on almost four year that china. story the media really lambasted her. and i have to mention that one of nancy's good friends, lee anne and, bergen was an expert at protocol, such an expert that the queen of england at one time it's reported referred to her for a consultation. and nancy had friends like this, you know, with poise and grace. and i think nancy as mr. cannon mentioned earlier, what you have that much poise and grace and your perfect size six, you're going to have some enemies. >> and my question, is every white house administration has a very close knit circle of friends. but it seems like the reagan side many, many fierce loyal supporters. and i was wondering, how did they engender -- especially mrs. --
reagan how did she engender and cultivate all those people who were so loyal to her in her husband? >> thanks very much. >> good question. by the way, you said for the record, she is a perfect size? two size two. >> or a zero. >> yeah. >> there is a zero. >> it is? they're >> so not to spend too much time on her dresses, on her importance and keeping that circle of advisers together that so guided the -- >> well, it's a little different with reagan in nancy. he was a movement. leader people -- he was a beloved conservative leader. conservatives had been waiting for a guy like this for a generation, and they're still waiting a generation later. a guy like that comes along -- once he's like roosevelt in that respect. people love what he stands. for >> nancy situation is a little different. people love her. she has these lifelong friends, and she cultivates them and he treats them well. and i think that's in that -- sense if she was ever in politics, she would have been an honorable person we she kept her.
france >> how many good years that they have after the white house until his illness was announced? >> well, he left the -- they left the white house in january 1989, and it was just five years later in 1994 that he announced that he had alzheimer's. so i think there was -- there was a period of years -- that's five years, and you could add maybe a few years after that when he was communicating and recognizing her. but the point came in the late 90s where she was telling people he did not recognize her. so she was open about that. and then he died in 2004. >> we have -- >> in 1991, at the 80th birthday of reagan, margaret thatcher came, and they held it at the library. and reagan got up and spoken he -- said you know, he spoke glowingly about thatcher. and then he said -- he turn to nancy and he said, put simply, my life really began when i met her and has been rich and full ever since. so they -- had there was a time there when they left the white house where they -- it was really magical for.
them >> and the store that mrs. reagan gave to c-span of the library 1999, she talked about alzheimer's any effect on her as his partner. let's watch. >> what have you learned about this disease? >> that is probably the worst disease you can never. have >> why? >> because you lose contact, and you're not able to share -- in our case are not able to share all those wonderful memories that we have. and we had a wonderful life. >> can you have a conversation that makes sense to you with the president? >> not now, no. >> the letter itself, what were the circumstances in which he wrote the letter? were you with him when he wrote. it >> i was with him. we were in the library and he was sitting at the table in the library. and he sat down and wrote. it and that was. it >> first? draft >> first draft. he crossed out when you were there, or -- too i think it's one or two. words i don't know what that was, but only ronny could write a letter like. that >> so as carla canon told
us earlier, she devoted -- once illness became debilitating, she devoted her life to being his caretaker, but occasionally, she would make a foray into the public arena. one of those was over the stem cell debate during the bush administration. >> you stayed in touch with. her you did this documentary recently. was it her own explanation of how she used those post white house years and when she decided to become public about issues and candidates that matter to her? >> well, mainly, again it was all about wishing and preserving her husband's legacy. it was all about ronald reagan, the man who was at the center of her life for 55 years until his death. and her interest -- i think you were going to bring this up, susan, and stem cell research, even when it was not a popular thing in the republican party, was all about the connection to alzheimer's. and then she had friends who had children with juvenile diabetes. and it was believed -- and scientists argue that, you know, we need to do much more with them still research than the united states had been doing. >> and she lobbied president george bush -- george w. bush in the early 2000s, when this was an issue,
again, went against the party. she called members of congress. she was a fierce advocate. she made speeches for. it you could trace, i think, almost everything she's done since then to something that either has to do with what her husband it or alzheimer's. in terms of party politics, in 1986, she gave a speech of the republican convention in san diego. fast forward to the 2008, she got involved in the mccain presidential effort by endorsing him. when has she chosen to be involved with republican party politics, and why? >> well, she knew john mccain, and she was there when he came back out of vietnam. and the reagan's are one of the first couples -- that that mccain went. i tend to think of that as an old -- another one of nancy's friendship in which he was loyal. >> but, you know, judy is right. she's not -- she wouldn't be now -- if she were entering the arena, we wouldn't think of her as on the right wing of the
republican party. we just. wouldn't we would think of her -- more of a moderate republican. >> were there any other social issues that were of interest to? her >> it was mainly stain stem cell. i mean she -- and she was very clear about -- you know, she was very strategic about it. i know she worked with a team of people who were very involved in this issue, and the plan way ahead about, where can we use nancy? where can she go to make a speech or who can she call? she wanted to get it done, and she was effective. >> kim is a new kayak, california. hi, kim, you are. on >> hi. i love your. show i watch every week. i was wondering, what charities are groups is nancy reagan doing at this? time >> you know, i can say, kim -- and i've already shared this with susan and carl -- i actually spoke with mrs. reagan today on the telephone. i was fortunate to be able to speak with her. she is every bit as sharp as she has been, within very good
spirits, but she doesn't get around as much as she used to. and i think her ability to get out in public and do the kinds of things that she did for many years, that's something that is very limited. she still can get out, and she does. but it is not as much. she is 92 years old, and she is not as active in public. that she still follows what is going on avidly. she follows the news. she may even be watching you tonight, susan. she is an avid follower of what is going on in american politics and american life. just last week -- >> just last week, her office released a statement on the passing of larry speaks, who was the reagan spokesman, and who also tragically had alzheimer's, a connection between him and his boss. we just showed a picture nancy reagan with michelle obama. were there first ladies that she had a special relationship with, do you? no >> i don't. >> she certainly -- she certainly overlapped with barbara bush, because they were vice president and president at
the same time. and so -- that you know, the reagan's left washington after. they were not around in washington during the bush presidency. and then before that, they weren't in washington. i think she's been available to other first ladies. you saw -- it you just saw her there photographed with michelle obama. >> i know that -- laura president george w. bush and laura bush, i.c.e. i know i saw her from time to. time but she's very much been focused on her husband while he was alive and since then on her life in california. >> just in this in playing field, indiana. hi, justin. you are on. >> hi. thanks for taking my call. i really enjoy your show. ottawa this has been an excellent series. i really enjoyed. it but you kind of touched on it earlier about the special relationship between margaret thatcher and ron reagan. and i wanted to know, what was nancy's relationship to the
thatcher, is both margaret and her husband, dennis? and also, does she feel that it's time that we have a woman president in this country? thank you very much. >> thank you. do you think about the relationship with batters? >> well, i know that nancy invite him are with that you are to the 80th birthday party of reagan, so that's pretty good. he asked about a woman president? >> it was a statement, that some day -- that it's time for a woman president from this country. >> he may not have to wait that long. >> and then you will do a series -- on a very short series on first man. first gentleman? >> that's right. >> so we have about four minutes. flat and it's important for us to kind of put a cap or on this 90 minute conversation. was it important do you think to know about nancy reagan's effect on the road first ladies and her contributions to the reagan presidency? >> i think it's pretty much what we've been saying, that she -- you know, first ladies have been long been -- certainly in the modern era -- have been close to their
husbands, have -- been have pay close attention to the policy. i think nancy reagan took that to a new level, because it wasn't so much that she wanted to be sitting in cabinet meetings or policymaking meetings. she did not do that. >> but she was very aware of her husband and his -- wanted to be his successful and was ready to act, to make sure of that, to make sure that the people around him or serving his best interests and letting him be, as she put it, the best person that he could be. calm and in that way, she exerted enormous influence, because she would move a mountain to make sure that her husband was protected. >> you called ronald reagan a movement president -- a movement politician, so how should the public view nancy reagan's term as first lady, two terms as first lady? >> well, think of this. sue spencer says she was really the personal chief. okay, but no personnel chief --
white house personnel chief has actually ever slept with the president, and this winded, and so she has -- she has more influence. she has the old kind of influence and a new kind of influence. she is a very modern first lady in that sense. ron reagan, their son, told judy in that excellent film that pbs did that she did her best to make sure he could do his best. and i was thinking about that morning. she once said that -- she that reagan preferred heights valleys. and so she would make sure that he would be -- could go up to rancho del cielo up in the mountains. there is nothing for her to do it, there but she made sure he could be there as often as she could and she went with him. and she did it metaphorically, as well. she was a height not a valley in his life.
and by doing that, she lighten his mood and she helped him make a mark on a country that needed bucking up. >> well, as close as we close here we're going to actually listen to president reagan's answer to the question. and a 1980 attributed and see reagan that happened in conjunction with the gop convention in that year, he talked about her, and that's how we're going to close our program. and since we're closing with video, before we do, so let me say thanks to both of you for being her here tonight to help tell the story of nancy reagan. we appreciate. it >> thank, you. susan >> it's been a pleasure, susan. >> and now president reagan and his own words, his thoughts about nancy reagan. >> but what do you say about someone who gives your life meaning? what do you say about someone who's always there with support and understanding, someone who makes sacrifices so that your life will be easier and more successful? well, what you say that you love that person and treasure her. i can't imagine the last eight years without nancy. the presidency wouldn't have been the joy it's been for me
without her there beside me. and that second floor living quarters in the white house would have seen a big and lonely spot without her waiting for me every day at the end of the day. you know, she once said that a president has all kinds of advisers and experts who look after his interests when it comes to foreign policy or the economy, or whatever, but no one looks after his knees as a human being. well, nancy has done that for me through recuperations and crises. every president should be so lucky. i think all of -- (applause) i think it's all too common in marriages that no matter how much partners love each other, they don't thank