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. Enough

    Can't you liberals for one minute stop your constant bashing? This isn't about Reagan or his policies, which by the way weren't so bad after all. Reagan fixed the mess Carter made and unless you are one who lived through those times, you are clueless. Carter=Worst president ever!

    June 3, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. G NO P

    Chris June 3rd, 2009 3:39 pm ET

    It is really sad to see some of the comments from you Dumocrats. To those libs who held your tongue, good job

    Pity you cannot follow your own advice...

    June 3, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Debra Hasan

    Nancy is ok. But the people that are saying that reagan is special, must be well off because I can't believe poor people would say such a thing. But maybe some poor would because they think they can keep other down(pathetic) Go Barack.

    June 3, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. Lisa, OH

    Good for Nancy. I think it's great when the country can stop bickering and honor a president.

    I hope the same decorum will happen when we elect to put a statue of President Obama in the Rotunda.

    June 3, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. Marie

    she's great

    June 3, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Chris

    It is tragic Don. Wake up America!

    June 3, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Gop June 3rd, 2009 1:56 pm ET

    I must say it makes me sick knowing Pelosi and Obama spoke at this event. Both of them should go back to their caves and not say a word about our president Reagan.

    YOUR President Reagan? What is your malfunction? For better or worse he was EVERYONE'S president at the time. And NOW Obama is YOUR president. Love it or lump it, you'll have years and years to get used to it.

    June 3, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Greg

    Tribute to this former president?

    His funeral was 30 years too late!

    June 3, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. J.Crobuzon

    obambi, you mean like Newt doesn't deserve to be in the same room with Gingrich, eh?

    June 3, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Chris

    Yeah GNOB...it is a pity.

    But see I've held my tongue for too long and now we have Obama. I tried seeing both sides while holding my tongue...meanwhile you hate mongers just kept blogging on. No more.

    Wake up America!

    June 3, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  11. I Still Hate The Way Michelle Dresses

    I voted for Obama, but...

    I hope Nancy gives Michelle some tips on how a first lady should dress. Did you see that outfit Michelle had on in that White House special? Boy was that tacky. I've never seen a First Lady appear so frumpy. She's 45 years old. Granted she was at home, but it's not any home. Her picture goes out, all over the world and she had on clothes that didn't match and were too tight.

    Take some notes from Nancy, Michelle– please.

    June 3, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. Louis from Overseas

    Reagan was responsible for thousands of "disappeared" during the South American dictatorships of the like of Pinochet (Chile), Videla (Argentine), Banzer (Bolivia) et al.
    If there is hell, I truly hope this scum bag rots in it.


    June 3, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  13. LacrosseMom

    @ Linda from Minnesota....... Your comment is right-on! I think people feel sorry for Mrs. Reagan an elderly widow, and have forgotten that she was sort-of-weird. In fact, Mrs. Reagan was involved with the Occult which Christians condemn. However, now that "Ronnie" is gone (may he rest in peace) Nancy is now a saint.

    I do not like to complain about First Ladies because they were not elected to their "job". No one is perfect not even Nancy Reagan.

    However, I do admire her for speaking out for stem cells research.

    June 3, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  14. Russ

    Although I voted twice for Ronald Reagan, I look back on his presidency with dissapointment. After all, under Reagan's policies, we started down the road to massive debts and a tilting of tax policies strongly in favor of the wealthy. He did, however, conduct himself in an honorable manner when comparing him to the strutting, arrogant George W. Bush. Overall, I would rate Reagan as a mediocre president and George W. Bush, who claimed to be the successor to Reagan's ideals, a total and utter failure.

    June 3, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  15. Art

    For those who would speak ill of the dead: No one ever has led a perfectly straight path... no one. For my fellow Republicans, who would wish President Obama ill success, I would always hope that the President of my country succeed to do "good" for my country, regardless of his party. For those Democrats, who would gloat in a false sense of success, and their Republican friends who would snipe at any trip over a stone, recall that lions defend their pride when they form a team against the hyena. Right now, the hyena (bin Laden) is laughing; let us both together, take him down.

    June 3, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. wagon

    Yep, Reagan was hated so much in the country in 1984 that he took 49 of 50 states in that year's election. Oh yes, and that taking communism straight on too. I'm sure you libbies would have just prefered the peaceful co-existance crap practiced and preached by Carter, Kennedy and Mondale.

    By the way, did anyone see that Earth 2100 last night? Reminded me of that garbage 'The Day After' which ran when Reagan was President in 1983 I think. Don't you democrats feel stupid now 30 years after running around saying "Reagan's gonna destroy the world." Typical of the chicken littles on the left.

    BTW Darth – you're an idiot.

    June 3, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. CNN = Moveon.org


    Clinton's statue would not be suitable for young children. You trash Reagan for supposedly being a bad family man? Yet you forget that your hero Clinton committed adultery and lied about it under oath. Yeah, there is a great family role model. You are a moron for sure.

    June 3, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. Chris

    To those who think Reagan favored the rich, go back and read your tax tables...

    In 1986, if a couple made more than $150K, Ole Ronny would tax them 49%.

    I don't approve, but he sure did have a lot to clean up after Carter. I think Jimmy spent a lot...kind of like the new "Jimmy" Obama.

    June 3, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. carlo

    This woman says that she still talks to "Ronnie?" She is either the most sprung First Lady in this nation's history, or she is looney. As far as how she dressed, she was the queen of excess, and would only wear couture clothing. If Michelle Obama did that, the same people criticizing her about her clothes would call her insensitive about the nation's predicament. He!!, they couldn't even go to a Broadway show and dinner without the GOP whining, when Bush took 77 trips to Crawford, and over 100 trips to Camp David, and was on vacation more than any President in history.

    June 3, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  20. Angela

    Yeah, Reagan was great. Tried to bust all of the unions in this country, created the rust belt in the midwest, interest rates were 11%+ on home loans. He was a dandy. Even HW called his economic policies "voodoo economics".

    June 3, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  21. Dont blame me


    What you forget is that under Carter, interest rates were 18% and unemployment was 15%.

    And it was his voodoo economics that created over 25 million new jobs in this country.

    June 3, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. Chris

    In the end I'm glad Obama honored Reagan formally.

    Isn't it funny that when Obama looks to Presidents of the past he has given praise to Lincoln and Reagan....Republicans.

    However in a book recently released, he calls Clinton a liar. How come the liberal press isn't talking about the infighting with the Dems? Biden's gaffes. Pelosi's lies. Dems voting against Obama's lack of plan for Gitmo.

    It is happening. It happened to Repubs who were drunk with power and now it will happen to the Dems. Wake up America!

    June 3, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  23. Ken

    Chris, Don, Scott, Enough.......it amazes me the number of stupid poeple that come on here and spew their dis-logic, delusion, and rightwing fairytales. It would be bad enough to show such hyper-partisan [R] stupidity at anytime, but as it is, it is coming right on the heels of such stupendous and abject [R] failure.....have these people no conscience or sense of embarrasment?.....certainly they have no sense of responsibility. They not only supported, but cheered, 8 years of Bush policies which ACTUALLY DID the very things they now claim (hope) Obama's policies might do. Specialists need to do some genetic testing to see what went wrong with the rightwing gene pool.

    June 3, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. Robin

    Why all the hate towards Nancy Reagan, a truly classy woman?

    Must be stemming from the welfare queens and pimps President Reagan outed in the 80's,

    June 3, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. david

    president regan another gop or corpret socialist president who ensured the wealthy got more wealthy and the poor got poorer .

    June 3, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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