June 2nd, 2009
04:51 PM ET
14 years ago

Gibbs says no slight meant to Nancy Reagan

(CNN) - The White House meant no disrespect toward Nancy Reagan when it failed to invite the former first lady and vigorous supporter of embryonic stem cell research to a bill signing ceremony on the subject, press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

"I think she speaks in real personal terms about the issue," Gibbs told reporters. "And I think her candor and her courage have been heartening and we certainly meant no slight to her whatsoever."

On Monday, Vanity Fair published an interview with Reagan on its Web site in which she suggested the Obama administration missed an opportunity by not inviting her to witness the president sign the bill allowing federal funds to be directed toward stem cell research - a policy Reagan has long promoted despite objections from many in the Republican Party.

"I would have gone, and you know I don't like to travel," she told the magazine. "Politically, it would have been a good thing for him to do. Oh well, nobody's perfect. He called and thanked me for working on it. But he could have gotten more mileage out of it."

Gibbs' comments also come the same day Reagan attended a White House ceremony as President Obama signed legislation authorizing the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission.

She'll also attend the unveiling of a new statue of President Reagan Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda and then share a private White House lunch with Michelle Obama.

Obama issued an apology to Reagan earlier this year after joking in a press conference that she held séances during her years in the White House - an apparent reference to reports she consulted with astrologists when her husband was president.

Filed under: Nancy Reagan
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Jean

    Governor Palin Statement on William Long

    "The stories of two very different lives with similar fates crossed through the media's hands yesterday – both equally important but one lacked the proper attention. The death of 67-year old George Tiller was unacceptable, but equally disgusting was another death that police believe was politically and religiously motivated as well.

    William Long died yesterday. The 23-year old Army Recruiter was gunned down by a fanatic; another fellow soldier was wounded in the ambush. The soldiers had just completed their basic training and were talking to potential recruits, just as my son, Track, once did.

    Whatever titles we give these murderers, both deserve our attention. Violence like that is no way to solve a political dispute nor a religious one. And the fanatics on all sides do great disservice when they confuse dissention with rage and death."

    Governor Sarah Palin

    June 2, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. Ron

    Unbelievable rankor and hatred from Democrats. You have a right to voice your hatred, but it also exposes you for what you are. Shame on you!

    June 2, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. Gary in CA

    Why wouldn't he slight her? He slights the American people in general with his socialist policies on a daily basis. Boo-yah!

    June 2, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. TCM

    Obama and Gibbs...this is leadership? What has this country come to when two talking heads can't recite a line without muttering like grade school drop outs...we're in a sad state when we have this lack of professionalism representing our country. What a disgrace.

    Now, after dissing Nancy, Obama's off to kiss muslim asses.....

    yeah, ".. oops....I forgot about Reagan's wife...but I won't forget about the muslims I have to bow down to....."

    June 2, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  5. TCM

    I wonder who says, "uhhhh..." more? Gibbs or OBama?

    June 2, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. S Callahan

    CNN you should have 'added' to the last paragraph where Nancy said 'you must have been talking about Hillary'...lol

    June 2, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  7. HB

    Okay. So the conservatives are now mad that she wasn't invited, yet they'd be blasting her if she did go since they do not believe in stem cell research.

    June 2, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  8. Sandy

    This is important, why? And you are all venting about it, why? Because it does not matter and will not change one life anywhere that she was not there. End of story. Forget it. CNN must be short on real news.

    June 2, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  9. jane m

    Typo in previous comment – The word "today" was left from sentence. She was there today... making this story very much at adds with "Obama embraces Nancy Reagan" story...

    June 2, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  10. Mix

    Please look at yourselves- this was a story about Nancy Reagan and you all have turned it into a slugfest. My take after reading the comments is that all you Obama bin Lyin backers are starting to SQUIRM

    June 2, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  11. JT

    Nancy Reagan, no matter what she thinks, is no longer the sole face of the fight for stem cell research. There are so many people backing this and they carry just as many compelling stories with them. Nancy should be proud of the fact that the cause has gained momentum and that she is NOT the only face for it any longer.

    June 2, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  12. steve b


    I appreciate your candor

    June 2, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  13. mary smithy

    It was not Obama's fault. Ronnie made it clear from the grave – "Nancy, don't associate with this loser!!!"

    June 2, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  14. Jenn

    Nancy's astrologer probably told her to stay home.

    June 2, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  15. Mari( maybe one of my comments will be posted)

    @CNN............. "Teleprompter USA"......... "Matthew in Detroit" and "Phoenix 86" has multiple postings on this blog. Are you now Faux News? Can't get a comment posted....... but CNN continues to pander to the far-right-extremist.

    Just watch your TV ratings continue to drop. IF you wonder why, its because the blogs are looking like Faux News!

    June 2, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  16. Don in Lawrence, Kansas

    Nancy said she didn't vote for Obama because she's a republican. So she went for the anti-stem cell party when she had a choice.

    June 2, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  17. Kiwini

    I think cnn.com slights Nancy Reagan by misspelling her name on your home page link: "Ticker: Obama 'slights' Nancy Regan?"

    June 2, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. Skip Towne

    It's great that Obama apologized for the oversight, but I'm glad that in the end he "just said no" to Reagan's attending and politicizing the signing, despite her great support of the research. Because, frankly, seeing her in attendance would only serve to remind many that she was a very active and vocal half of a republican presidential power-couple that for eight long years doggedly initiated, pushed and promoted deregulation, an awful legacy that has nearly decimated the U.S. economy and weakened America's global positions on so many issues. Who wants to be reminded? She hates traveling anyhow, so it's a win-win.

    June 2, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  19. Mario in Texas

    If Pres. Obama had invited Mrs. Reagan (which should have been done), the GOP would have claimed he was taking advantage of Mrs. Reagan for the Left's political gain . And now that she wasn't there for the signing, they're saying they disrespected her. The fact is the New GOP are they themselves throwing Mrs. Reagan under the bus since she supported Stem Cell research.

    The GOP's new motto must be "We're the Party of Reagan, but if a Reagan crosses us we'll make them a speed bump."

    June 2, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. mel in Fl

    Mr. President Barack Obama and Mrs. Nancy Reagan. Thank you for your support in conducting these research that is so needed.

    June 2, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  21. Cynthia in Michigan

    Matthew in Detroit: You're so big on "facts" . . . you seem to have forgotten that Barack Obama voted AGAINST the war as did your OWN 2 senators, Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin.

    June 2, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  22. Oh Please!

    The majority of liberal rants on this board continue to prove that they have no ideas and cannot win a logical argument .They just bash , bash, bash. You have the presidency, house and senate and you are still not happy. 2010 will be a cake walk for the GOP and most people on this board and the main stream media will not know what hit them because they are so busy trashing anyone who doesn't think like they do. Most intollerant bunch of people I have ever encountered. Keep thinking the republican party is done , shrinking, history... 1994 all over again. You would think liberals would have learned back then. Guess not. I love it when people who think they are smarter than every one else lose elections. It's so entertaining.

    June 2, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  23. Zreebs

    Nancy Reagan is probably right on this, but bottom line... Who cares?

    June 2, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  24. Cali J

    Matthew in Detroit is my hero. Right on the money about California (where I'm From).
    Kicking the ass of all you Liberals on here with truth and facts. The Libs are responding with names and insults.
    Darth, Mari, and Sniffitt, leave it be. You can't compete!
    Truth and facts are to Libs like water is to the wicked witch of the west. You lay out the truth and the facts, and the Libs start melting.
    Help me help me.....I'm melting!
    Good to have you aboard Matthew. Maybe there's still hope for this country!

    June 2, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
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