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. Jody

    All I can say is "Shame, shame on all the above. Can't we all get along and be civil to each other. Good grief, y'all sound like a bunch of babies. Name calling and pety remarks. Get a life!!!!

    June 2, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  2. bill

    mr mooney where is the story here.your headline dont match your story.move to fox maybe they will appreciat your reporting.oh well i dont watch eitherone. CNNCRAPPY NEWS NETWORK.AND STILL NUMBER THREE AND WORSE

    June 2, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  3. MatthewDetroit

    Darth Vadik, CA.
    Who is kidding who.
    You are from California.
    You dont believe in doing anything yourself.
    Your boys down on 8 mile wont have time or the inclination.
    Get real buddy. Now you just sound ignorant.

    June 2, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  4. Jim

    @ MatthewDetroit June 2nd, 2009 5:57 pm ET
    "I dont hate anyone and I am not a hate monger."

    you sure could have fooled me. actually, you DID fool me. your words, here, do nothing but escalate the conflict. one of the things that we, as a nation, neeeeeeeed is to stop fighting and begin working together.

    June 2, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. Joe

    So many people are stuck on partisan politics and refuse to accept that it should always be about accomplishing what is best for our country.

    It's refreshing that Mrs. Reagan supports such a pivotal advance in modern medicine.

    On the other hand, someone obviously made a mistake by not inviting her to participate in the signing of the bill. Personally, I don't think it was an intended slight. What would be the point in excluding her?

    It's particularly sad since her husband was the last Republican leader to actually accomplish anything positive for our country.

    June 2, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  6. Darth Vadik, CA

    Teleprompter of the U.S.A.,

    Yeah Dennis kind of left us, more like betrayed us, kind of like Reagan did. Then Reagan even went as far as to spy on his SAG member friends, a true man you would say in the right wing world but...

    ...As far as liking Dennis, we never liked him for his brains, he never was much political until after 911, but he was a good comedian at one point in his life (that was when somebody else was writing his jokes for him, I'm sure somebdy will google the name of the guy in a second)

    June 2, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  7. Republican from Alerbami

    @Matthew in detroit.I dont believe you live in Detroit or you are a male,or anything you say.You just repeat Limbaugh all day long.

    June 2, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. Texas Annie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    Well, God forbid Nancy miss a chance for a photo op and a little TV time. I'm glad she backs stem cell research, but does she really need to be there standing (propped up) while Obama signs the bill?? She was a camera hog when Ronnie was President and nothing has changed. She never hesitated to do, say, or walk over whoever necessary to get what she wanted back in her Hollywood days (including marrying Ronald Reagan) , and nothing has changed. Nancy is not the sweet classy little lady so many have been duped into thinging she is. Ask around the industry– people of her era– and see what kind of results you get. Shoot, ask her own daughter.

    June 2, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. Darth Vadik, CA


    If you begin your sentence by saying "I don't hate,I'm not a hate monger..."

    YOU ARE A HATE MONGER, your little brain just finds ways to excuse it.

    June 2, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. Brad

    Wow. I am amazed at the general 'Obama is ruining this country' or 'he hates America' comments with no real facts to back it up (or oddly, many 'facts' in the comments here are actually Bush's (or previous administration's) issues that have been transferred magically to Obama – the recession, the wars, nukes in other countries). And, by the way, where were you people the last 8 years?
    For some reason, not inviting the right people or going on a date night is all a big hullabaloo now – but lying about wars and the medicaid costs, outing agents, failing in Katrina, removing Habeus Corpus, torture, wiretapping, etc – those are all minor issues that supposedly only get brought up 'cuz Dems hate Bush.
    Bush ignored the Dems in congress for years and 30% of his presidency was a 'date night' vacation (we did pay for his flights to the ranch you know) – where was your righteous indignation then?
    Hey, Obama ain't perfect, but he sure isn't the disaster we have had for the past 8 years.

    June 2, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. A Proud Arrogant American

    Must be because she's not a member of ACORN!

    June 2, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. Darth Vadik, CA

    Big Ed,

    Do you know a right winger that doesn't have really serious personal issues?

    June 2, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  13. Malia

    I am not a fan of Obama, but I must say I was really touched by the way he embraced Mrs. Reagan at the signing of Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act. I only wish we could see this more often instead of all the bickering that goes on 24/7 between the far left and far right…

    June 2, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. David

    Who does Nancy think she is anyway? She forgets she supported this man who headed us into the present economic crisis.

    June 2, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  15. Curtis

    Wait!! Allow me to understand this correctly. Republicans are generally against stem cell research.........Pres. Obama is for it and signs a new bill into law....the GOP is against him for that. Now you're mad because he did not inviting Nancy Reagan to the signing? It's amazing how there is so much hate and anger towards the President but love towards Mrs. Reagan...there both stand for the samething

    June 2, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. joann


    Please get a life. Obama has been POTUS less than six months. Read and get your facts straight. Post at FOX.

    June 2, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. Dan

    Some of the comments on here are so ignorant, I just can't comment!

    June 2, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  18. Rumours

    For crying out loud, I totally support Obama, but all of you are bickering back and forth like children. Will the finger pointing never end. At the end of the day it really doesn't matter what your opinion is, friendly debate is wonderful exercise for our brain cells, but at the same time act like an adult.

    June 2, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  19. Darth Vadik, CA


    You're just pissing off people left and right, let me see you got the ATC's (most stressful job in the US), you got union workers (the sole reason the US was head above everybody else in the world until the 1980's when your boy Reagan started destroying unions).

    I just hope you're not a private pilot and an ATC knows which plane you're flying, or maybe you meet a local union member worker who busted his but his whole life just to see Reagan destroy it. I might feel sorry for you in that situation.

    I said might...

    June 2, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  20. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    not the president nor mr Gibbs needs to say anything about not doing anything right or wrong.. and anyone that keeps going after the president on anything petty or not needs to shut up and help the country not put it down or make any of us walk on egg shells .because a few people in this country don't like the new president or his agenda I like most of AMERICA AND THE WORLD THINK HE IS DOING A WONDERFUL JOB ..he has more on his plate than most past presidents ever had . and wow what a great job he and his staff are doing .. oh and so what if he took the first lady on a date . for you few that have issue with it .crawl back under your chenney rush rock .

    June 2, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    @ MathewDetroit, who said "People need to step up and take care of themselves and their own families."

    That's all well and good as far as ideological rhetoric goes. When you're ready to land back here on Earth and recognize that for some, the obstacles and impediments standing in their way are insurmountable without some form of help, which I can assure is not coming from the private sector, you let the rest of us know...mmmkay?

    June 2, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  22. Thomas

    Jim June 2nd, 2009 5:50 pm ET

    @ MatthewDetroit

    i see you are up to the typical republican-name-calling-without-information techniques.

    let me fill you in some of my background, matt … if that is your real name.

    i am college educated. I have a bachelor's degree in physics. a minor in mathematics was required. I actually have enough math credits to have earned a bachelor's degree in math. i have taught math at a college.

    why don't you try using real facts instead of the pretend ones that you've made up?

    again I say to you …

    please. put aside your prejudices and go from there.

    REALLY?!?!? You have a bachelor's degree?!?!? Can I genuflect before you and kiss your ring? I've never met someone like you. I guess your bachelor's degree in physics makes you waaaaaaay smarter on these political issues than others. I really appreciate you letting us know your qualifications, because I wouldn't have taken you seriously otherwise.....

    June 2, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  23. harold

    HOPE Mrs Reagan does not feel she is above the rest of us like some cons do.... certainly all the millions in USA could have used her support for health care for everyone.... She is right on the stem cell thing... VERY progressive for a republican... to do that

    June 2, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  24. libby

    Seeing how frail Ms. Reagan is I would also hesitate asking her to come. It seems to be more important for her to be in Washington now for this event. She does not have to come to everything. Somebody, please shut these Blogs down. I'm beginning to think there may be something to be a communist country. Maybe then we would be spared these dumb comments.

    June 2, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  25. seriously

    What does all the nonsense being discussed have to do with Nancy not attending a particular ceremony. Afterall you can be invited to EVERYTHING (lol).

    June 2, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
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