Monday, June 01, 2009

Nancy Reagan's Last Hurrah

Approaching her 88th birthday, the former First Lady ventures an opinion on Barack Obama: Sometimes he isn't political enough.

Interviewed in Vanity Fair, Nancy Reagan says the new President could have gained more advantage from reversing Bush’s policy on embryonic-stem-cell research by inviting her to the announcement.

“I would have gone, and you know I don’t like to travel,” she says. “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.”

Mrs. Reagan, who knows about political mileage, is logging some herself by emerging from seclusion to give a wide-ranging interview, pose for pictures and turn loose surviving members of her inner circle to offer memories of the Reagan years.

In this last hurrah, she may be responding to the obvious--that the new man in the White House is the first president since her husband to dominate the office with his personality, and now Nancy Reagan must do everything she can to preserve the legend to which she is as devoted as she was to the man himself.

Just before retiring as an editor, I ran an interview with her in which she said that, if "Ronnie" had decided to run a shoe store, she would be spending her time polishing shoes. Now she is back to polish his image for history, the timing no doubt prompted by the fact that up to now it hasn’t been necessary.

Asked if she ever tried to discuss the stem-cell issue with George W. Bush, Mrs. Reagan says, “I think once I did, and then I didn’t anymore.”

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