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. MatthewDetroit

    What you need to do is go to Youtube my friend.
    Punch in Barney Frank.
    It is very public information and is a tape with Frank making the exact commments I spoke of.
    Pretty funny how you will defend and deny something that is a simple fact.
    Barney Frank was in charge of the banking committee.
    Barney Frank was told many times by the then treasury secretary and would not change it.
    I can blame President Bush for many things, but you must look at the hand that congress has had in all this.
    I will also Blame President Bush for the amount of debt racked up, but I expect Democrats today to acknowledge the debt Barack Obama is piling on.

    June 2, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. Ruty

    Another whining Republican.

    June 2, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

    "Spin all you want, but the VAST majority of Americans know who is to blame for letting Wall Street run wild"

    Most informed people know it was Democrats that were covering for the fraud at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae that started this.

    June 2, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. Big Ed

    It does look like a slight, however President Obama called and apologized for it. Mrs. Reagan acceptedhis apology. Can you picture "W" ever saying he was wrong, let alone saying he was sorry for anyything?

    June 2, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

    Well, anyway, a 1st Lady with class entered into the WH again after 4 months.

    June 2, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. donttreadonme

    Sniffit June 2nd, 2009 4:58 pm ET
    Right, because the Dems have such a long history of violating constitutional rights by doing things like mass wiretapping millions of Americans.
    You must know then that Obama's people are currently in court defending the use of these wiretapps as legal? And that he voted to authorize President Bush's wiretapping program in the first place.

    Do some research outside of the Huffington Post.

    June 2, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Screw it....MathewDetroit, YOU and those like you are (a) the only reason the GOP still holds any power whatsoever at this point and (b) the very reason the GOP is headed towards oblivion.

    June 2, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. Lotta Muni

    Another demonstration of the true lack of concern the dems have of trying to establish any sort of bi-partisan dialog. What the heck, they have the majority, so why should they bother?

    June 2, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. FactCheck

    There are a whole lot of people who blindly support Obama simply because of his race and the fact that he's an eloquent speaker when in front of a teleprompter, yet have no clue whatsoever about any of the issues and what he stands for.

    Funny how you Republicans want to project your own inadequacies onto others. I seem to recall you all blindly following the voices of your fearless leader for the last 8 years without a single clue as to the actual policies or issues. Most of us Obama supporters are college educated, fairly affluent, middle age folks who have had enough of Rush, Newt, Cheney and the rest of the bunch.

    June 2, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. Hopeful Optimist

    PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZZZ give it a break !!!! Why cannot the news media live without controversy ??

    As Jack Webb said, "Just the facts, Mam, just the facts." I frankly believe that if a nationally known politician or celebrity of any type was bloated and passed gas, in public, inadvertantly, it would somehow end up for all to read about and comment upon - and the comments would reflect party lines.

    June 2, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. a little sad

    No offense Mrs Reagan, but the previous Republican administration ignored your calls to open up stem cell research.

    You were a great voice for your husband, but you actually had no effect on allowing the use of stem cells in reserach.

    Bush did not allow stem cell research, and Obama would have even if you hadn't added your voice.

    June 2, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. Jim

    @ matthewDetroit

    clearly and obviously your "arguements" are rooted in ignorance. you've yet to espuse one single valid point. everything you've said is based on heresay and speculation.

    the one single "fact" you point out is an estimate that supposedly will take place in the future. if it hasn't happened yet, then it can not be a fact.

    i contend that YOU, sir, are the lemming, following your angry far right wing doctrine.

    please, sir, set aside your prejudices and go from there.

    June 2, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. Johnny DC

    Hysterical. An aging out-of-practice First Lady is actually smarter on political opportunity than the current President, who holds a doctorate in how to win politically while accomplishing nothing.

    Nancy 1, Obama 0.

    June 2, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

    The argument is over whether they constitute crimes against our country's laws and international law. They quite clearly do, but you see, the Bush admin had its DOJ cook up some tongue-in-cheek legal memos pretending to elaborate on scenarios in which holding people with no representation or trial doesn't violate human rights

    And I suppose you just ignored the fact that Obama reserved the right to do the exact same thing, if he was facing the exact same circumstances. And you also must have ignored that the Senate votred on it and they voted it was not torture.

    Please be informed if you are going to comment.

    June 2, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. Husman

    For God sake when will the idiots in this forum grow up to respect a man for what he is? That Sean Hanity/Beck,Rush and other GOP buffons are alluding to the teleprompter and the presidents speach, some idiots have forgotten that Obama was a law professor and did graduated from an American university unlike his detractors who talked themselves into graduates that they are not.Sean with all his blow head scratch of the basic knowledge is an idiot in real academic and intellectual diatribe.
    For the unintelligent, enough of the teleprompter stupidity.

    June 2, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

    Most of us Obama supporters are college educated, fairly affluent, middle age folks who have had enough of Rush, Newt, Cheney and the rest of the bunch.

    Well, if you ignore all the people collecting welfare, EITC, etc., etc., etc.

    You might have had some of the college educated people, but you also got a lot of votes from the people that were high school dropouts. All you had to do is listen to some of the comments from people who went to his rallies to know they were notcollege educated.

    June 2, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. MatthewDetroit

    Great as I said earlier. NO war crimes were committed.
    Waterboarding is not torture.
    And yes I have no problem waterboarding terrorist.
    And yes it works.
    And yes they do not have the same rights as american citizens.
    And yes I do not feel sorry for them.
    Congress looked at all the same facts when Iraq was invaded.
    Senators and Congressmen on the intelligence committee saw the same data. President Clinton also saw the data and agreed with the invasion. Senator Hillary Clinton saw the data and agreed with the invasion and the war.
    No one was tricked. They all saw the same data.

    June 2, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. david, CA

    She's probably right about Obama having missed a political opportunity. But the calculus therein is highly unpredictable. It's a balancing act.
    IF Obama HAD invited her to the signing ceremony, wouldn't he have faced additional criticism on the right for making the stem cell debate into an event for political theater? In the end, though, Nancy (wife to the Lord and Savior of the right), would have lent unparalleled credibility to the side favoring research effectively stunting the rabidity of the right.

    June 2, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. Thomas

    Big Ed June 2nd, 2009 5:09 pm ET

    It does look like a slight, however President Obama called and apologized for it. Mrs. Reagan acceptedhis apology. Can you picture "W" ever saying he was wrong, let alone saying he was sorry for anyything?

    So you were privy to the private conversations 43 had with former Presidents and first ladies? How'd you get those connections? Wait, you didn't.....get over your irrational hatred of President Bush.

    June 2, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  20. G

    Slow news day huh?

    June 2, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    What a bunch of whiny Obama supporters. You Obamamaniacs are so biased for your guy that you would rip into Nancy Reagan for her mild comments. She's a widow and about 90 years old.
    Shame on the Obamaniacs.

    June 2, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota


    Without a doubt you have just carried the teleprompter idiocy over the top.

    June 2, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. JR

    "she is a nasty republican, and Obama and his crew hate republicans"

    Gosh, I guess that's why Obama has worked so hard to include republicans in his administration or could it be that you're talking about yourself and that you puke when you look at yourself in the mirror, is that it neo-con POS?

    June 2, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  24. deb0155

    After reading the blogs for this article – no wonder why our country is falling apart. Too much hate spewed between us, too much greed run amuck with our politicians, and too much "spinning." If we pull our heads out of the sand maybe then we will all be able to save this country.

    If we the American people stand together maybe then we will see to it that our politicans (including our President) will have only one alternative – and that is to take care of us!

    June 2, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. MatthewDetroit

    Fact Check,
    I would beg to differ on your voters for Barack.
    Unless you are not counting most of Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, South Central LA, etc....
    Give it a break. You try to portray it as the college educated who brought Barack the white house but that is just not true.
    You folks need to thank ACORN like Barack did with a 5 billion dollar spending bill for them.
    He knows how he got elected and he is all about doing it again.
    He loves himself some illegal registrations.
    You cant rent a movie from blockbuster without an ID and card,
    But the Dems love when people can vote without proving who they are or showing ID.
    It worked for Al Franken I will give you Dems that much.
    You have become professional cheaters when it comes to elections.
    You must question yourself why someone should not have a picture voter id.

    June 2, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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