June 3rd, 2009
02:53 PM ET
13 years ago

Emotional Nancy Reagan unveils statue of former president

WASHINGTON (CNN) - An emotional Nancy Reagan on Wednesday helped unveil a statue of her late husband, President Ronald Reagan, calling the 7-foot figure "a wonderful likeness."

Mrs. Reagan paused during her brief speech at the ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, appearing to battle emotions as she mentioned her last visit to the marbled hall for Reagan's memorial in June 2004.

"It's nice to be back under happier circumstances," she said.

The statue is one of two from California in the National Statuary Hall Collection donated by states to honor significant figures.

Mrs. Reagan stood arm-in-arm with Rep. John Boehner, the House minority leader from Ohio, to pull down the curtain from the statue. She thanked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California for making the event possible.

In her remarks, Pelosi noted that the former president's statue contains pieces of the Berlin Wall, "as a symbol of his commitment to national security and to his success." The wall was torn down shortly after Reagan left office.

The former president is credited with polices that led to the break-up of the former Soviet Union and the dismantling of the wall that divided Berlin as a symbol of Cold War politics.

James Baker, a longtime Republican who served in the Cabinets of Reagan and President George H.W. Bush, recalled that Reagan inherited some major problems when he took office in 1981.

Citing the former president's trademark optimism, he quoted from Reagan's first inaugural address that "we are not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline."

Mrs. Reagan attended a White House ceremony Tuesday marking President Barack Obama's signing of legislation authorizing a Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission. The 11 member commission will plan activities marking Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday on February 6, 2011.

Filed under: Nancy Reagan • President Obama • Ronald Reagan
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Danny E. Gonzalez

    I'm a Dem, but this is truly and honor and Mrs Reagan is truly gracious. Might God Bless her and I'm sure Ronnie is looking down with a smile upon her...

    June 3, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  2. Don Bonacci

    The nation honors President Reagan and also Nancy Reagan. They, both, deserve the highest regard from we the people.

    June 3, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. Ryan

    Yeah whatever – Reagan's economic plans of yesteryear screwed us over today. The only people who should be honoring him are employees of VISA & Mastercard.

    June 3, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. Matthew

    Reagan's legacy may be crumbling along with our economy, but hey, at least he's got a 7 foot statue.

    June 3, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. JAY IN WI

    We love you Nancy. The strength and class of both you and our beloved Gipper will be forever remembered. You inspire us to this day.

    June 3, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. jsk from Florida

    wouldn't it be nice if a true Reagonite student and principled individual would rise up in our midst...

    June 3, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. No Incumbents 2010

    Kudos to Speaker Pelosi for her grace and courtesy to Mrs. Reagan. Too bad Repukes have to fight Mrs. Reagan on stem cell research.

    June 3, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. Hopeful Optimist

    Man, if history ever gave anyone a 'free' pass its Ronald Reagan. I know he is the conservatives' gold standard; therefore, out of a sense of magnanimity I am reluctant to trash him. Sometimes it is just better to bite one's tongue and let bygones be bygones.

    June 3, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. Post always rejected by CNN

    I can see Nancy Reagan loving her husband but I am so sick of the Reagan adulation. He was not...I repeat over and over was not a good president. His so called reaganomics is what started us on ruin.

    Gee why doesn't the Pope declare him a Catholic and at the same time raise him to Sainthood. But then the republicans have never had any president in the whole line of presidents that was any where near a celeb they have to latch on to this guy.

    June 3, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Lawrence

    Forget the Berlin wall, maybe if the statute had Nancy Pelosi chained to its base, it would be better for the country

    June 3, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. Philip Grant

    Good grief people. I was no fan of his either, but the man is dead, his wife is old, let her have her day for goodness sake. You guys are going to die from hate if you keep it up.

    June 3, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Dan

    Another CNN headline to give people an opportunity to make hateful and mean-spirited comments about Republicans and Democrats. Of course, it could have read "The Sky is Blue Today" and it would get just as many stupid comments by people who love to hate! Blogs are such a waste! Just read the the news and then go out and do something positive with your life!

    June 3, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. donttreadonme

    The libs attempt to smear and rewrite history about Regan has failed. I know it upsets many of you commenting here but the country was reborn under his leadership.

    June 3, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. fgfffffff

    What a joke, Reagan supported death squads in South America. And the Soviet Union imploded by itself, Reagan didn't cause that.

    June 3, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Osama Bin Laden

    AMEN CH! Also you may want to add Bill left three trillion in excess dollars for George Jr. to give away before he declared war to plunge us to where we're at today.

    Yes Reagan has plenty to answer with all the arms, ammunitions, and money fed to Osama Bin Laden during the Iran-Contra Affair. They ought to water-board Ollie North and George Sr. until the truth comes out. This is exactly why we attacked Iraq with most of every thing we had because they was afraid they might take Osama Bin Laden alive if they went whole-heartedly after him. He has plently to tell. Snakes in a barrell sooner than later start biting themselves. Eventually the truth will be told. Reagan-Bush are the reasons behind 911. Tell it the way it is. All this praise heaped on Nancy is crap. She is an adulterer snob who snubbed Gorbachev's wife. I don't care that she did it, but is that the way a diplomatic wife should act. Michele Obama will be no better. She has already stated she wasn't proud of America until Obama won a primary. WAKE UP AMERICA YOUR LIVING A NIGHTMARE.

    June 3, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. scott

    The losers here bashing Reagan are simply jealous that their savior John F Kennedy has fallen so far from grace since his assasination. And it's so sad that their political icons of Carter, Clinton and now Osamabama won't ever be in the same league as Reagan.

    June 3, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. BK

    The Republican Party of Regan was not the same as the Republican Party today. I voted for Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama, but I would still vote for a Republican if they were like Reagan.

    June 3, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. Typical White Person

    @Kevin who wrote "during his term, he had taken away from the American people the write offs on credit card interests and automobile loan interests, this angered people to no end and still does today, it should be put back, this would help in the long term in the form of a bailout to people, but no, he wanted to go over there to make a name for himself to get a wall torn down."

    Yeah, how stupid of him to concern himself with the freedom of millions of people in Germany...

    Bailout, bailout, bailout. How about just not using your credit card then you won't have to pay the interest that you can't write off? Regan's philosophy was that your inability to manage your finances should not be subsidized by the rest of us and I agree with him.

    BTW – did you know that the guy who shot the soldiers (1 killed, 1 wounded) in Arkansas was being tracked by the FBI for receiving jihad training in Yemen and that he had a list of targets in the southeast, NYC, and Philidelphia? No? You must only get your news from CNN because this information is being shared on other, real news outlets.

    June 3, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. John


    I am sure the statue to President Clinton is coming, but will take time. These things aren't a given, and have to be approved. Look how long it took to get an FDR Memorial, a Martin Luther King Memorial, etc. I think President Reagan very much deserves this and any other recognition DC sees fit, I also think President Clinton very much deserves one as well but all in good time.

    Remember, one man's hero is another man's punchline. Both men will get the recognition they both deserve.

    June 3, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. BK

    "But then the republicans have never had any president in the whole line of presidents that was any where near a celeb they have to latch on to this guy."

    Not even Lincoln?

    June 3, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. Chris

    It is really sad to see some of the comments from you Dumocrats. To those libs who held your tongue, good job...it is a first that we didn't hear you whine. Wake up America, find another Reagan. If Obama gets a second term, we will see our inevitable decline.

    Reagan wouldn't bow to a Saudi king. Reagan wouldn't use taxpayer money to fund a genocide in Africa...oops I mean teach about abortions. Reagan certainly wouldn't have nationalized GM and taken liberal approaches to the private sector.

    Dang you George W for being such a bad Repub...I blame him for some of this Obama-mess....the rest is Obama and the administration's fault. Clean up in 2010 & 2012.

    June 3, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. John

    Thank you President Obama for recognizing the good on both sides of the isle, unlike many people on this discussion.

    June 3, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. strong

    I can understand Nancy becoming emotional during the unveiling of the statue of Ron. She is human, and she was getting caught up in an emotional moment. I still think she's classy.

    I can't understand why people trash her so. Jeez..... so nasty.

    June 3, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. Don

    It is a tragic irony that the Marxist totalitarian system that President Reagan fought so hard against is once again rearing its ugly head in his own Country.

    June 3, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. Jeff

    I guess It's only natural for Obama to honor the man who started the US spending spree and big goverment....

    June 3, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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