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Nostalgia Reigns Supreme at Reagan Reception

Former House minority leader Bob Michel stops to talk with Nancy Reagan at the Capitol Hilton on Tuesday night. (Roxanne Roberts/The Washington Post)

Republicans jonesing for a nostalgia hit got their fix at the Capital Hilton last night, where veterans of the Reagan Revolution gathered to honor their queen.

Nancy Reagan, still head-to-toe in the Reagan red pantsuit and shoes she wore to the White House earlier in the day, received a long line of admirers, some who literally knelt at her feet. Still recovering from a fall, the former first lady sat in a chair in the ballroom as friends and former Reagan administration officials -- James Brady, Bob Michel, Lucky Roosevelt, Alan Greenspan -- waited their turn to tell her they miss her husband -- and his more genial GOP.

"If President and Mrs. Reagan had a extended family, this would be it," said Reagan Foundation head Fred Ryan, who said the Tuesday soiree was the largest reunion of Reaganites since the former president left office. Like all families, this one was hit up for money: contributions for the Reagan centennial campaign in 2011.

The former first lady's turn on the stage -- the exact same spot where she appeared in her famous "Secondhand Clothes" skit at the 1982 Gridiron dinner -- lasted less than a minute.

"Thank you for coming," she said, surveying the crowd. "So nice to see all of you."

"We LOVE you!" shouted one man from the back of the room.

Lucky Roosevelt chats with Michael Steele at the reception. (Roxanne Roberts/The Washington Post)Enlarge Image

Today's Republican Party? Not so much. RNC Chair Michael Steele got an earful from Roosevelt, chief of protocol in the Reagan White House.

"I was giving him hell," she said. "If the Republican party wants to win elections, they have to open the tent."

Steele maintained his trademark grin. "A lot of people here represent the legacy of a great man and great president," he said. "I think they are an essential link to helping us regain our footing in the future."

But a lot of things, he admitted, have changed since Reagan's day. "You never heard a harsh word come out of his mouth. It's a little more . . . " Steele searched for a word, " . . . tough today."

By The Reliable Source  |  June 3, 2009; 12:27 PM ET
Categories:  Parties  
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Next: Look! Pictures of the White House Dog!


Where were her concerns for OTHERS during the HIV crisis?
She should have spoken out more at bush and cheney for their blocking stem cell research.
Like cheney-now that I have a gay daughter it is important to me therefore the country. Representaional government eh?

Posted by: crrobin | June 3, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I was never a Reagan fan no matter how much people try to rewrite history.

Does anyone else think it's strange that her children didn't accompany her?

Posted by: rlj1 | June 3, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Georeg HW Bush furthered Reaganomics later called voodoo economics. George W. Bush furthered these same economic policies, and America is now in a deep recession because of these policies.

It is truly Ronald Reagans fault we are where we are today, as his voodoo economics have proven to be false and hurtful to all American's including the rich ones. What are we celebrating, the good ole days when white, conservative men ran everything including Executive, Legislative, and Enforcement Branches of government?

Interesting enough we now have minorities in all three of these brances of government leadership, and these folks are fixing Ronnnie Reagans problems that have lasted forty years now for the rest of us!


Posted by: patmatthews | June 3, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the anti-Republican hate comes out even in the Reliable Source comment section. And the man has been gone for over 5 years now. Show some class, folks.

No President will ever win in as big of a landslide as Reagan did in 1984. Apparently more than a few people did like him.

Posted by: RambleOn | June 3, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

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