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. Barnes Franklin

    Mrs Reagan was not invited to the signing of the stem cell bill simply because she is a nasty republican, and Obama and his crew hate republicans (they try to deny it but mature people recognize hate when we encounter it). Hopefully, Mrs Reagan will not puke at the lunch table with Michelle.

    June 2, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Nancy backs the President's policy on stem cell research. Now what if the President actually invited the former First Lady to the signing of the bill? Republicans would had a hissy fit and Rush would have said Nancy's not a "real" republican.

    June 2, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. Gale

    Maybe they are afraid a Republican might want to hog some of their glory?

    June 2, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. Denver Mom

    When will this president stop apologizing and get something right the first go round?

    June 2, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. Dan, TX

    Mrs. Reagan is better than your mother, Barnes Franklin. Your mother didn't teach you any manners. Shame on her.

    June 2, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. Reformed Republican

    "...He could have gotten more mileage out of it."
    That's one of the big differences between rethuglicants and dems. For dems it's sometimes more important to do the right thing than win a few "feel good" points.
    In this case it's obvious Mrs. Regan felt her presence might have helped Obaman in winning votes. With her comments it looks like her sense of self-importance matches that of the Gipper...

    June 2, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. J Moore

    We voted for a change & we sure got it but I don't think it is for the best of our country, it looks like Obama is a show dog that loves the spot light. I think he had better stay at his office & get some much needed work done. Stop the spending we had to in fact I am a senior & have nothing left except my home but my taxes didn't go down no one has given me a loaf of bread not even the wrapper.

    Stop the spending Obama & try living as we are.

    June 2, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Fortytude

    "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."

    Whaat? Reagan admits Obama doesn't do stuff just for political reasonins? Ronnie slobberers must be so sad.

    June 2, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. the southern progressive

    as the great grandson of someone who died from alzheimers
    as the great nephew of someone who is dying from dimensia
    as the grandson of someone who died from lewy body disease

    i would like to say thank you to former first lady nancy reagan for her fight in this struggle. even after she lost her husband, her fight continued for others, like the many members of my family who live in fear that one day, that the light in life will slowly be snuffed out, leaving them vacant capsules in a world no longer their own.

    we will succeed, we will find the answers, God has given man the knowledge and skill to do anything, including what was once considered trash, unused embryos that would be destroyed. making the gift of life, however not in the newborn form, but rather a precious life extended beyond the disease that is trying to consume it.

    June 2, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. Fitz in Texas

    "no disrespect"........I might almost believe this because it's pretty apparent this administration is clueless on many issues.

    June 2, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. Carl

    Curse of Tecumseh where a President dies every 20 years.

    William Henry Harrison 1840 pneumonia

    Abraham Lincoln 1860 Assassination

    James A. Garfield 1880 Assassination

    William McKinley 1900 Assassination

    Warren G Harding 1920 heart attack or stroke

    FDR 1940 cerebral hemorrhage

    JFK 1960 Assassination

    Reagan was shot not long after being president. Missed death by one inch. Rumors around his wife and her believe in astrology could have ended the "curse." The curse could have somthing to do with the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn.... astrology! The next time Jupiter and Saturn align is in 2600 AD...

    It's an interesting read for anyone that wants to google the information.

    June 2, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. Michele

    Nancy is certainly not "nasty," but I do find it interesting that she is still a politician, assuming that Obama could have gotten "mileage" from her presence. I think she wasn't invited because she's an elderly lady, she was recovering from a nasty fall, and they knew this visit was on the horizon. As for Mr. Franklin, you DO seem to be one of those nasty Republicans, intimating that if you had to sit through lunch with Mrs. Obama, you might be tempted to throw up. Nice. And you guys can't understand why we don't embrace you?

    June 2, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. phoenix86

    As much as Barney Franklin hates to admit it, Mrs. Reagan was not invited because Obama's White House is amateurish. And Dutch, Republicans would not object to Nancy's participation because Republicans are respectful of former Presidents (democratic and republican alike).

    June 2, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Ed

    I think she has an open invitation to sit on Mr. T's lap.

    June 2, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. J Moore

    What a lady Mrs Regan is. But Barack has gotten on the wrong plane I really thought he was for the good but so far I don't see any thing but debt & people here in the USA going hungry, jobless & homeless.

    June 2, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    It wasn't a slight, just amateur incompetence.

    June 2, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  17. kay

    She should have thought aboput it when Ronnie cut back on funding so many social and medical programs. She's a pill, let her stay home

    June 2, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Tim, Seattle

    @ Phoenix86 "Republicans are respectful of former Presidents (democratic and republican alike)."

    DUMBEST and most HYPOCRITICAL post...EVER!

    June 2, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Dallas Independent - thank goodness

    @ Barnes Franklin – couldn't say it better myself! I could not fathom having to sit at the same table as Michelle and eat! Nobama will rue the day he shunned and apologized for Americans to all the rogue nations! The roosters will come home to roost in his backyard. He is sinking this great nation one step at a time!

    June 2, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Susan

    AMEN Michele! I second that....every word! Very well put....

    June 2, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |

    Snipe much, CNN? Looks like you are learning well from the petty, small politics of the right-wing nutjobs. And you pretend to have serious anchors, reporters and journalists working for you. More like primped, powdered, parsing, primadonna gossipmongers.

    June 2, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. donna

    She didn't need to be there...move on...was Michael J Fox there? He is more symbolic of stem cell research than Nancy Regan is...most people don't know her history concerning it nor do they care...grow up folks....

    As for the Obama haters on here...deal with it!!!!!!!

    June 2, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. dan

    everyone needs to read the recent artical by PAUL KRUGMAN entitled "REAGAN DID IT"

    We have Reagan to blame for this economic crisis, gloriously spelled out by Krugman

    History has spoken

    June 2, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. MatthewDetroit

    Pretty funny how much Gibbs apologizes for the lack of professionalism by the new white house.
    Apologize to Nancy Reagan. Oops we forgot.
    Apologize to the Queen of England. Oops we forgot.
    Apologize to the Prime minister of england.
    Apologize to everyone.
    Maybe these idiots need to figure out what there doing. I love how they learn on the job and keep making the same mistakes.

    June 2, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  25. Loup Garou 782

    It's an absolute must that Mrs Reagan either bring her own lunch or be provided a food taster before attempting to eat what is offered to her.

    June 2, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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