(CNN) - It was a surprising, little-known Washington pairing: Liberal icon Ted Kennedy and conservative stalwart Ronald Reagan were actually quite close, former first lady Nancy Reagan told CNN Monday.
"Most people didn't realize the friendship, or didn't accept it, or didn't know about the friendship," Mrs. Reagan told CNN's Larry King. "You know, Ronny was so identified with the Republican Party. And Teddy obviously with the Democrat Party. But that doesn't make any difference, Larry, really. It shouldn't make any difference. I'm afraid it does now, but it shouldn't."
Mrs. Reagan also said the two men were happy to lend a hand to each other, either privately or publicly. In 1985 then-President Reagan even spoke at a fundraising event for the John. F. Kennedy Memorial Library in McLean, Virginia after Ted Kennedy asked him to.
"Teddy had asked Ronny to speak…he did, very happily," Mrs. Reagan said.
Mrs. Reagan also said the two men were drawn to each other's firm commitments to their own beliefs.
"They both had very definite opinions about things. It was a wonderful, wonderful friendship," she said.
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