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. Mike

    Nancy Reagan is old and a waste of my taxpayer dollars.

    June 2, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  2. Hannah Stevens

    They haven't anything to fault President Obama for so they are nit picking. The NY trip and now this. I just remember the first 9 months of Georges presidency and he did nothing, was warned 52 times about 9-11 and did nothing, just kept cutting brush at the Crawford ranch. Nancy is old and frail, why would she want to travel to a bill signing at the WH/

    June 2, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Amanda

    Who cares that she wasn't invited? Seriously?

    June 2, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Oh please!

    Oh well! I just can't remember Republican Presidents inviting former Democratic first ladies to bill signings. There weren't that many Democratic first ladies for me to forget so someone please remind me. In the meantime why is it important? Must we really dissect every thing this President does. I would also like someone to remind me when we needed to see an expense account of other Presidents expenses for taking their spouses or children on a date or trip. Yes, remind me of that one also. I do recall Bush being away on vacation more than he was actually at the White House. Why are we holding the one President that inherited a surplus turned to a deep deficit, two wars, the scorn of many nations, etc. to such a higher standard? Give our President a break. He's trying to fix the mess that the Republican's left us in. He's doing a great job in less than six months. Where and when were the criticisms, accountability and questions asked during the 8 years of the last administration?

    June 2, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. alvino

    Obama probably did not invite her because he knew that Rush and the critters at Fox News would have asked her to leave the republcan party.

    June 2, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. JWB94596

    people will write anything here. J. Moore at 4.06 complains that he is a senior with nothing left but his home and complains that his taxes have not gone down. Well if he has nothing but his home he sure is not paying any federal taxes.

    June 2, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. Post always rejected by CNN

    I don't remember Laura Bush personally inviting Hillary Clinton to the white house for teas and parties...oh that's right, it's ok to snub democrats but you better darn sight not even give the impression that you didn't bow and scrape to a republican.

    June 2, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Champly

    Why no big story about the killing of an Army recruiter, in front of the center, by an Islamist ? And why no comment from the President ?

    June 2, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. mike

    and if obama had invited her he would be blasted by the right for trying to benefit from using her name

    June 2, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. Thomas L.

    Didn'f she just recently have a bad fall and was hospitalized. The important thing is, she is a republican and can support something the President does. Maybe Rush, Hannity and the boys on right radio could find one thing positive to support or say about our new president. I find all of them a sad sad joke, nobody is perfect and neither are they, but by being against any and everything he does, they seem to think they are perfect and have all the answers to this country's problems. The truth is, they a big part of what keeps us divided.

    June 2, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. The Taylors

    Oh for heaven's sake, why couldn't Mrs. Reagan have been invited? She is the oldest surviving First Lady, isn't she? What difference would it have made?

    June 2, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. Tim, Seattle

    @ Barnnes (Barney Fife) who said...
    "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"

    Funny, you GOPers are all against Stem Cell research. So when Nancy trotted out her support, you villified her for it....now because you think she was 'snubbed' . you want to protect her.

    Sometimes I think the GOP just wants to exhume Reagan so that they can run his corpse for president. MAkes sense, though. There arent any living leaders in the GOP, so why not?

    Please, Barnes, have a shred of consistency. I know your GOP is nearly extinct and the country is rejecting your phiolosophy but try and not be such a whining wiener.

    June 2, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. alvino

    Matthew Detroit-

    Bush never apologized for killing over 4000 of our troops in an unnecessary war, killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians, wiretapping, torture, the huge debt he left Obama with, the 9/11 attacks, and the cratering economy.

    June 2, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Grant

    Umm guys, her comment about getting milage meant that President Obama could have increased support had he invited a republican or two that agreed with him.

    It is unfortunate that those of you that responded to her comments with hate were too blind to see that.

    June 2, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Andrea

    Nancy Reagan did not speak out about stem cell research until it directly affected her. Meanwhile I just watched her a the White House today with President Obama.

    June 2, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. mary

    Why should we care what Nancy Reagan thinks? The only reason she is for stem cell research is because Reagan got Alzheimers'. If her family hadn't been personally affected by a disease that stem cell research could potentially cure, she'd have been against it like the other hypocritical Republicans. Stay home, Nancy. You and Ronnie did enough damage in the 80s.

    June 2, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. Champly

    I agree with Mike. Maybe Obama could propose a "late life abortion" for old folks that have outlived their usefullness. Work up a check sheet. Too many negatives, and "bang", off to see Jesus (or Allah depending on if you are an Obamist ). This concept I am sure would titilate the Democrat Party politburo.

    June 2, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. Hannah Stevens

    I wonder if it weren't for ronnie if she would be for stem cell research? The same goes for darth cheney, would he be speaking out for gay marriege if his daughter were straight? I think the answer to both of these questions is no. Republicans are self serving, selfish people. I heard a saying the other day, that the right wing is the party of "I've got mine", so if you are on the street, so sad to bad. I can't/won't help you.

    June 2, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. Tatianna

    The political left embraced a hatred of humanity long ago, and their insanities havent changed changed much no matter what ideological guise they wear at any given moment, be it neo-marxism, neo-fascism, or radical environmentalism. In fact, it is their hatred of all that is human that defines them.

    June 2, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Andrea

    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.

    Why apologize? She admitted in the new Vanity Fair that she still talks to him and sees him in her bedroom!

    June 2, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. Here we go again

    She did not need to be there. Republican's only care about issues when it affects them directly. Cheney's opinion about gay marriage is radically different then his parties because his daughter's gay, Mrs. Reagan cares about stem cell research because her husband had Alzheimer's, Bush cared about student tests because he could never pass one. Limbaugh cares about male enhancement because.....

    June 2, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. donttreadonme

    Embryonic stem cells have have not offered any progress toward finding a cure to any of these diseases while adult stem cells are holding much promise. The signing of this bill was a politcal side show with little or no meaning as most of the research will still be performed with private money as was the case for the last eight years.

    June 2, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. Adele

    The comment by "Barnes Frank" is offensive. Both for Mrs. Reagan and for Michelle Obama. Some people on this blog are at the level of Rush Limbaugh.

    June 2, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. Chris from NY

    CNN loves nothing than starting a war when there was no quarrell. They like to instigate one another into a non existing war. What I can't understand is what they gain by doing something like that. Is it just for the news or what?

    June 2, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. Ray Fisher

    I think the President should be commended for taking her interests into account over politcs, she is clearly a very frail lady. The picture of the President escorting Mrs. Reagan this afternoon brought tears to my eyes with his gentle concern for her by pointing out the hazards on the floor which only we disabled can understand, he is truly a gentleman!!!

    June 2, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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