Political Musings December 20, 2014: Obama invokes Reagan in reflective and optimistic American resurgence declaration

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Obama invokes Reagan in reflective and optimistic American resurgence declaration

By Bonnie K. Goodman

In the last press conference of the year on Friday afternoon, Dec. 19, 2014 at the East Room of the White House President Barack Obama kept the topics lighter and optimistic in the 50-minute presser; the theme was definitely…READ MORE

History Headlines April 8, 2013: Nancy Reagan Remembers Margaret Thatcher: ‘We Had A Very Special Relationship’

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Nancy Reagan Remembers Margaret Thatcher: ‘We Had A Very Special Relationship’ (VIDEO)

Source: Huffington Post, 4-8-13

Nancy Reagan Margaret Thatcher

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan called into MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” to share memories of her relationship with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

“We had a very special relationship. I think people thought she and I didn’t have a relationship. Nothing could be farther from the truth. And of course I loved it that she and Ronnie were as close as they were.”

History Headlines April 8, 2013: Julian Zelizer: Margaret Thatcher And Ronald Reagan Remembered As Political Soul Mates

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Margaret Thatcher And Ronald Reagan Remembered As Political Soul Mates

Source: Inquisitr, 4-8-13

Margaret Thatcher And Ronald Reagan Remembered As Political Soul Mates

Former first lady Nancy Reagan recalls the Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan friendship:

“Ronnie and Margaret were political soul mates  committed to freedom and resolved to end communism. As prime minister, Margaret had the clear vision and strong determination to stand up for her beliefs at a time when so many were afraid to ‘rock the boat.’ As a result, she helped to bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the liberation of millions of people.”…

Julian Zelizer, a Princeton University historian, says Margaret Thatcher “certainly liked Reagan a lot from the moment he won office and he felt the same. They had a deep respect, admiration and a friendship. Each believed in the strength of free markets, disdained communism and saw themselves and their countries as part of a transatlantic alliance.”…READ MORE

History Headlines April 8, 2013: 5 moments that show why Margaret Thatcher mattered in American politics & Speech to Joint Houses of Congress

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5 moments that show why Margaret Thatcher mattered in American politics

Source: WaPo, 4-8-13

Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first woman prime minister, died Monday at age 87.

The longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century, the “Iron Lady” held the office for more than 11 years, including all of the 1980s. During that time, she left a major mark on U.S. politics, mainly through her close relationship with President Ronald Reagan.

(Howard L. Sachs/AP)

(Howard L. Sachs/AP)

1) “The second most important man in my life.”

2) Strains in the relationship

3) Address before a joint session of Congress

4) “No time to go wobbly.”

5) Spurning Sarah Palin….READ MORE

1985 Feb 20 We
Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Joint Houses of Congress

Source: Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Document type: speeches
Document kind: Speech
Venue: Capitol Hill, Washington DC
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: MT spoke to a joint meeting of the House and Senate at 1100, departing the Capitol at 1150.
Importance ranking: Key
Word count: 3321
Themes: Foreign policy (USA), Conservative Party (history), Foreign policy (general discussions), European Union (general), Defence (general), Foreign policy (USSR and successor states), Defence (arms control), Foreign policy (development, aid, etc), Trade, Monetary policy, Conservatism, Privatised and state industries, Economy (general discussions), Defence (general), Foreign policy (Americas excluding USA), Terrorism, Northern Ireland, Foreign policy (USA)
[ Tip O’Neill ] Mr. Speaker, [ Ronald Reagan ] Mr. President, Distinguished Members of Congress:

On this, one of the most moving occasions of my life, my first words must be to say thank you for granting me this rare privilege of addressing a Joint Meeting of the United States Congress.

My thoughts turn to three earlier occasions when a British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill , has been honoured by a call to address both Houses. Among his many remarkable gifts, Winston held a special advantage here. Through his American mother, he had ties of blood with you. Alas, for me, these are not matters we can readily arrange for ourselves!

Those three occasions deserve to be recalled, because they serve as lamps along a dark road which our people trod together, and they remind us what an extraordinary period of history the world has passed through between that time and ours; and they tell us what later generations in both our countries sometimes find hard to grasp: why past associations bind us so closely.

Winston Churchill ‘s vision of a union of mind and purpose between the English-speaking peoples was to form the main spring of the West. No-one of my generation can forget[fo 1] that America has been the principal architect of a peace in Europe which has lasted forty years. Given the shield of the United States, we have been granted the opportunities to build a concept of Europe beyond the dreams of our fathers; a Europe which seemed unattainable amid the mud and slaughter of the First World War and the suffering and sacrifice of the Second.

When, in the Spring of 1945, the guns fell silent, General Eisenhower called our soldiers to a Service of Thanksgiving. In the order of service was a famous prayer of Sir Francis Drake :

“Oh Lord God, when Thou givest to Thy Servants to endeavour any great matter, grant us to know that it is not the beginning but the continuing of the same until it be thoroughly finished, which yieldeth the true glory!”

On this day, close to the 40th anniversary of that service and of peace in Europe—one of the longest periods without war in all our history—I should like to recall those words and acknowledge how faithfully America has fulfilled them. For our deliverance from what might have befallen us, I would not have us leave our gratitude to the tributes of history. The debt the free peoples of Europe owe to this nation, generous with its bounty, willing to share its strength, seeking to protect the week, is incalculable. We thank and salute you! (applause)

Of course, in the years which separate us from the time when Winston Churchill last spoke to Congress, there have[fo 2] been disappointments as well as hopes fulfilled: the continued troubles in the Middle E* famine and oppression in Africa; genocide in South East Asia; the brutal occupation of Afghanistan; the undiminished agony of tortured Poland; and above all, the continued and continuing division of the European continent.

From these shores, it may seem to some of you that by comparison with the risk and sacrifice which America has borne through four decades and the courage with which you have shouldered unwanted burdens, Europe has not fully matched your expectations. Bear with me if I dwell for a moment on the Europe to which we now belong.

It is not the Europe of ancient Rome, of Charlemagne, of Bismarck. We who are alive today have passed through perhaps the greatest transformation of human affairs on the Continent of Europe since the fall of Rome. In but a short chapter of its long history, Europe lost the position which it had occupied for two thousand years—and it is your history as much as ours.

For five centuries, that small continent had extended its authority over islands and continents the world over.

For the first forty years of this century, there were seven great powers: United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, Italy. Of those seven, two now tower over the rest—United States and the Soviet Union.

To that swift and historic change Europe—a Europe of many different histories and many different nations—has had to find a response. It has not been an easy passage to blend this[fo 3] conflux of nationalism, patriotism, sovereignty, into a European Community, yet I think that our children and grandchildren may see this period—these birth pangs of a new Europe—more clearly than we do now. They will see it as a visionary chapter in the creation of a Europe able to share the load alongside you. Do not doubt the firmness of our resolve in this march towards this goal, but do not underestimate what we already do.

Today, out of the forces of the Alliance in Europe, 95%; of the divisions, 85%; of the tanks, 80%; of the combat aircraft, and 70%; of the fighting ships are provided, manned and paid for by the European Allies (applause) and Europe has more than three million men under arms and more still in reserve. We have to. We are right in the front line. The frontier of freedom cuts across our continent.

Members of Congress, the defence of that frontier is as vital to you as it is to us (applause).

It is fashionable for some commentators to speak of the two super powers—United States and the Soviet Union—as though they were somehow of equal worth and equal significance. Mr. Speaker, that is a travesty of the truth! The Soviet Union has never concealed its real aim. In the words of Mr. Brezhnev , “the total triumph of all Socialism all over the world is inevitable—for this triumph we shall struggle with no lack of effort!” Indeed, there has been no lack of effort!

Contrast this with the record of the West. We do not aim at domination, at hegemony, in any part of the world. Even against those who oppose and who would destroy our ideas, we plot no aggression. Of course, we are[fo 4] ready to fight the battle of ideas with all the vigour at our command, but we do not try to impose our system on others. We do not believe that force should be the final arbiter in human affairs. We threaten no-one. Indeed, the Alliance has given a solemn assurance to the world—none of our weapons will be used except in response to attack (applause).

In talking to the Soviet Union, we find great difficulty in getting this message across. They judge us by their ambitions. They cannot conceive of a powerful nation not using its power for expansion or subversion, and yet they should remember that when, after the last War, the United States had a monopoly of nuclear weapons, she never once exploited her superiority. No country ever used such great power more responsibly or with such restraint. I wonder what would have befallen us in Western Europe and Great Britain if that monopoly had been in Soviet hands!

[ Tip O’Neill ] Mr. Speaker, wars are not caused by the build-up of weapons. They are caused when an aggressor believes he can achieve his objectives at an acceptable price (applause). The war of 1939 was not caused by an arms race. It sprang from a tyrant’s belief that other countries lacked the means and the will to resist him. Remember Bismarck ‘s phrase: “Do I want war? Of course not! I want victory!”

Our task is to see that potential aggressors, from whatever quarter, understand plainly that the capacity and the resolve of the West would deny them victory in war and that the price they would pay would be intolerable (applause). That is the basis of deterrence and it is the same whatever the nature of the weapons, for let us never forget the horrors of[fo 5] conventional war and the hideous sacrifice of those who have suffered in them.

Our task is not only to prevent nuclear war, but to prevent conventional war as well (applause).

No-one understood the importance of deterrence more clearly than Winston Churchill , when in his last speech to you he said: “Be careful above all things not to let go of the atomic weapon until you are sure and more than sure that other means of preserving peace are in your hands!” Thirty-three years on, those weapons are still keeping the peace, but since then technology has moved on and if we are to maintain deterrence—as we must—it is essential that our research and capacity do not fall behind the work being done by the Soviet Union (applause). That is why I firmly support President Reagan ‘s decision to pursue research into defence against ballistic nuclear missiles—the Strategic Defence Initiative (applause). Indeed, I hope that our own scientists will share in this research.

United States and the Soviet Union are both signatories to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, a treaty without any terminal date. Nothing in that treaty precludes research, but should that research—on either side—lead to the possible deployment of new defence systems, that would be a matter for negotiation under the treaty.

Mr. Speaker, despite our differences with the Soviet Union, we have to talk with them, for we have one overriding interest in common—that never again should there be a conflict between our peoples. We hope too that we can achieve security with far fewer weapons than we have today and at lower cost, and[fo 6] thanks to the skilful diplomacy of Secretary Shultz , negotiations on arms control open in Geneva on the 12th March. They will be of immense importance to millions. They will be intricate, complex and demanding, and we should not expect too much too soon.

We must recognise that we have faced a Soviet political offensive designed to sow differences among us; calculated to create infirmity of purpose; to impair resolve, and even to arouse fear in the hearts of our people.

Hope is such a precious commodity in the world today, but some attempted to buy it at too high a price. We shall have to resist the muddled arguments of those who have been induced to believe that Russia’s intentions are benign and that ours are suspect, or who would have us simply give up our defences in the hope that where we led others would follow. As we learned cruelly in the 1930s, from good intentions can come tragic results!

Let us be under no illusions. It is our strength and not their goodwill that has brought the Soviet Union to the negotiating table in Geneva (applause)

Mr. Speaker, we know that our alliance—if it holds firm—cannot be defeated, but it could be outflanked. It is among the unfree and the underfed that subversion takes root. As Ethiopia demonstrated, those people get precious little help from the Soviet Union and its allies. The weapons which they pour in bring neither help nor hope to the hungry. It is the West which heard their cries; it is the West which responded massively to the heart-rending starvation in Africa; it is the West which has made a unique contribution to the uplifting of hundreds of millions of people from poverty, illiteracy and disease.[fo 7]

But the problems of the Third World are not only those of famine. They face also a mounting burden of debt, falling prices for primary products, protectionism by the industrialised countries. Some of the remedies are in the hands of the developing countries themselves. They can open their markets to productive investment; they can pursue responsible policies of economic adjustment. We should respect the courage and resolve with which so many of them have tackled their special problems, but we also have a duty to help.

How can we help? First and most important, by keeping our markets open to them. Protectionism is a danger to all our trading partnerships and for many countries trade is even more important than aid. And so, we in Britain support President Reagan ‘s call for a new GATT round (applause).

The current strength of the dollar, which is causing so much difficulty for some of your industries, creates obvious pressures for special cases, for new trade barriers to a free market. I am certain that your Administration is right to resist such pressures. To give in to them would betray the millions in the developing world, to say nothing of the strains on your other trading partners. The developing countries need our markets as we need theirs, and we cannot preach economic adjustment to them and refuse to practise it at home (applause).

And second, we must remember that the way in which we in the developed countries manage our economies determines whether the world’s financial framework is stable; it determines the level of interest rates; it determines the amount of capital available for sound investment the world over; and it determines[fo 8] whether or not the poor countries can service their past loans, let alone compete for new ones. And those are the reasons why we support so strongly your efforts to reduce the budget deficit (applause).

No other country in the world can be immune from its effects—such is the influence of the American economy on us all.

We in Europe have watched with admiration the burgeoning of this mighty American economy. There is a new mood in the United States. A visitor feels it at once. The resurgence of your self-confidence and your national pride is almost tangible. Now the sun is rising in the West (applause)

For many years, our vitality in Britain was blunted by excessive reliance on the State. Our industries were nationalised controlled and subsidised in a way that yours never were. We are having to recover the spirit of enterprise which you never lost. Many of the policies you are following are the policies we are following. You have brought inflation down. So have we. You have declared war on regulations and controls. So have we. Our Civil Service is now smaller than at any time since the War and controls on pay, prices, dividends, foreign exchange, all are gone.

You have encouraged small business—so often the source of tomorrow’s jobs. So have we. But above all, we are carrying out the largest programme of denationalisation in our history (applause).

Just a few years ago, in Britain, privatisation was thought to be a pipe dream. Now it is a reality and a popular[fo 9] one. Our latest success was the sale of British Telecommunications. It was the largest share issue ever to be brought to the market on either side of the Atlantic—some 2 million people bought shares.

Members of Congress, that is what capitalism is—a system which brings wealth to the many and not just to the few (applause)

The United Kingdom economy is in its fourth year of recovery. Slower than yours, but positive recovery. We have not yet shared your success in bringing down unemployment, although we are creating many new jobs, but output, investment and standard of living are all at record levels and profits are well up. And the pound? It is too low! For whatever the proper international level of sterling, it is a marvellous time for Americans not only to visit Britain but to invest with her (applause) and many are!

America is by far the largest direct investor in Britain and I am delighted to say that Britain is the largest direct investor in the United States (applause).

The British economy has an underlying strength and like you, we use our strength and resolve to carry out our duties to our allies and to the wider world.

We were the first country to station Cruise missiles on our territory. Britain led the rest (applause). In proportion to our population, we station the same number of troops as you in Germany. In Central America, we keep troops stationed in Belize at that government’s request. That is our contribution to sustaining democracy in a part of the world so vital to the United States (applause). We have troops in Cyprus[fo 10] and in the South Atlantic and at your request a small force in Sinai, and British servicemen are now on loan to some thirty foreign countries. We are alongside you in Beirut; we work with you in the Atlantic and in the Indian Ocean; our navy is on duty across the world. Mr. Speaker, Britain meets her responsibilities in the defence of freedom throughout the world and she will go on doing so (applause)

Members of Congress, closer to home there is a threat to freedom both savage and insiduous. Both our countries have suffered at the hands of terrorists. We have both lost some of our best young lives and I have lost some close and dear friends. Free, strong, democratic societies will not be driven by gunmen to abandon freedom or democracy (applause) The problems of the Middle East will not be solved by the cold blooded murder of American servicemen in Lebanon, nor by the murder of American civilians on a hi-jacked aircraft (applause) Nor will the problems of Northern Ireland be solved by the assassin’s gun or bomb.

Garret FitzGerald and I—and our respective governments—are united in condemning terrorism (applause). We recognise the differing traditions and identities of the two parts of the community of Northern Ireland—the Nationalist and the Unionist. We seek a political way forward acceptable to them both, which respects them both. So long as the majority of people of Northern Ireland wish to remain part of the United Kingdom, their wishes will be respected. If ever there were to be a majority in favour of change, then I believe that our Parliament would respond accordingly, for that is the principle of consent enshrined in[fo 11] your constitution and in an essential part of ours.

There is no disagreement on this principle between the United Kingdom Government and the Government of the Republic of Ireland. Indeed, the four constitutional nationalist parties of Ireland, north and south, who came together to issue the New Ireland Forum Report, made clear that any new arrangements could only come about by consent, and I welcome too their outright condemnation and total rejection of terrorism and all its works.

Be under no illusions about the Provisional IRA. They terrorise their own communities. They are the enemies of democracy and of freedom too. Don’t just take my word for it. Ask the Government of the Irish Republic, where it is an offence even to belong to that organisation—as indeed it also is in Northern Ireland.

I recognise and appreciate the efforts which have been made by the Administration and Congress alike to bring home this message to American citizens who may be misled into making contributions to seemingly innocuous groups. The fact is that money is used to buy the deaths of Irishmen north and south of the border and 70%; of those killed by the IRA are Irishmen—and that money buys the killing and wounding even of American citizens visiting our country.

Garret FitzGerald —and I salute him for the very brave thing he did yesterday in passing a special law to see that money did not get to the IRA— Garret FitzGerald and I will continue to consult together in the quest for stability and peace in Northern Ireland and we hope we will have your continued support for our joint efforts to find a way forward (applause)[fo 12]

Distinguished Members of Congress, our two countries have a common heritage as well as a common language. It is no mere figure of speech to say that many of your most enduring traditions—representative government, habeas corpus, trial by jury, a system of constitutional checks and balances—stem from our own small islands. But they are as much your lawful inheritance as ours. You did not borrow these traditions—you took them with you, because they were already your own.

Human progress is not automatic. Civilisation has its ebbs and flows, but if we look at the history of the last five hundred years, whether in the field of art, science, technology, religious tolerance or in the practise of politics, the conscious inspiration of it all has been the belief and practise of freedom under law; freedom disciplined by morality, under the law perceived to be just.

I cannot conclude this address without recalling words made immortal by your great President Abraham Lincoln in his second Inaugural Address, when he looked beyond an age when men fought and strove towards a more peaceful future.

“With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right that God gives us to see the right. Let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations!”

Members of Congress, may our two kindred nations go forward together sharing Lincoln ‘s vision, firm of purpose, strong in faith, warm of heart, as we approach the third millenium of the Christian era.

Mr. Speaker, thank you! (applause)

History Headlines April 8, 2013: Richard Norton Smith, Allan Lichtman & James Cooper: Margaret Thatcher & Ronald Reagan: ‘Political Soul Mates’ Who Didn’t Always Agree

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Thatcher and Reagan: ‘Political Soul Mates’ Who Didn’t Always Agree

How Thatcher And Reagan Used One Another For Political Cover

Source: US News, 4-8-13

President Ronald Reagan and Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher were "political soulmates,"  Nancy Reagan once said.

President Ronald Reagan and Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher were “political soulmates,” Nancy Reagan once said.

Richard Norton Smith, a presidential historian at George Mason University: “When the Iron Lady vouched for [Mikhail] Gorbachev’s authenticity, it carried a weight that no one else on the world scene had. I’m not saying Reagan would not have developed the relationship he did, but I have to believe that her endorsement helped to facilitate that relationship.”

Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University: “Ronald Reagan was one of the most personable politicians we’ve ever had in the United States, he was the master of the one-liner, he was extraordinarily good at disarming his opposition – Margaret Thatcher didn’t have those kinds of personal skills. She tended to be the kind of politician who worked more with fierce determination and iron will rather than charm and personality.”…READ MORE

History Headlines April 8, 2013: Margaret Thatcher & Ronald Reagan: Was their ‘special relationship’ partly a myth?

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Thatcher and Reagan: Was their ‘special relationship’ partly a myth?

Source: WaPo, 4-8-13

President Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher talk in New York in 1985. (MIKE SARGENT/AFP/Getty Images)

President Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher talk in New York in 1985. (MIKE SARGENT/AFP/Getty Images)

U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday, and U.S. President Ronald Reagan are remembered as a geopolitical “power couple,” a partnership that pushed for free-market conservatism and helped win the Cold War. In both U.S. and U.K. politics, their names are practically synonymous.

But the truth was far more complicated and, particularly when it came to the more difficult moments of the Cold War, Reagan and Thatcher found plenty to disagree on. Nicholas Henderson, the U.K. ambassador to Washington under Thatcher, was later asked by a British politician if he had learned any real secrets. He paused before saying, “If I reported to you what Mrs. Thatcher really thought about President Reagan, it would damage Anglo-American relations.” That quote was revealed in a book released last year by historian Richard Aldous, “Reagan and Thatcher: The Difficult Relationship”. ..READ MORE

History Headlines April 8, 2013: Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s Iron Lady & Former Prime Minister, Dead at 87

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Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s Iron Lady, Dead at 87

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-8-13

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Margaret Thatcher, the first woman ever to serve as prime minister of Great Britain and the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century, has died at age 87.

During her long career on the political stage, Thatcher was known as the Iron Lady.  She led Great Britain as Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990 — a champion of free-market policies and an adversary of the Soviet Union.

Many considered her Britain’s Ronald Reagan.  In fact, Reagan and Thatcher were political soul mates.  Reagan called her the “best man in England” and she called him “the second most important man in my life.”…READ MORE

History Buzz February 6, 2013: Remembering President Ronald Reagan at 102: Things You Might Not Have Known

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Remembering President Ronald Reagan

Source: ABC News, 2-6-13

PHOTO: Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan speaks at a rally for Senator Durenberger February 8, 1982.
Michael Evans/The White House/Getty Images

On February 6, 1984, on his 73rd birthday, President Ronald Reagan said, “Birthdays are special moments, and you’ve given me one today. But I must tell you, even though this is the 34th anniversary of my 39th birthday, those numbers don’t faze me at all. I believe Moses was 80 when God first commissioned him for public service. And I also remember something that Thomas Jefferson once said. He said, ‘We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.’ And ever since he told me that, I’ve stopped worrying.”

The President

Reagan, at age 69, was the oldest person elected to a first term.

Here are some things to remember about the 40th president:

PHOTO: Candidates in Movies
AP Photo

The Star

As a young boy Ronald’s nickname was “Dutch.” The nickname was given to him by his father, Jack Reagan, because of his Dutchboy haircut.

PHOTO: Newlyweds Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan cut their wedding cake at the Holden's house in Toluca Lake, California on March 4. 1952.

Ronald Reagan Library

The Husband

Regan married two different actresses and had a daughter and a son with each.

PHOTO: President Ronald Reagan gestures during a news conference in the White House East Room on June 15, 1984, Washington, D.C.
Ira Schwarz/AP Photo

The Soldier

Reagan enlisted in the Army Reserve and was commissioned a second lieutenant.

PHOTO: Ronald Reagan (1911-–2004), wearing a beige jacket with dark blue shirt with a wide collar, and his wife, Jane Wyman (1917-2007), U.S. actress, wearing a red coat with a dark blue neckscarf and black leather gloves, both smiling, circa 1945.

Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

The Ex- Husband

Reagan is the only U.S. president to have divorced his wife. Reagan and Jane Wyman divorced in 1947.

PHOTO: Newly elected President Ronald Reagan dances with his wife Nancy at the Inaugural Ball on Jan. 20, 1981.

Dirck Halstead/Getty Images

The Candy Lover

President Reagan was known for his penchant for Jelly beans. His favorite Jelly Belly flavor was licorice.

PHOTO: File photo of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan as he prepares a speech at his desk in the Oval Office April 28, 1981.
Michael Evans/The White House/Getty Images

The Lefty

Ronald Reagan was left handed. James Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Henry Truman, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were also lefty commander in chiefs.

Political Headlines February 6, 2013: 8 Democratic governors refuse ‘Ronald Reagan Day’ on Gipper’s birthday

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

8 Dem governors refuse ‘Ronald Reagan Day’ on Gipper’s birthday

Source: Washington Times, 2-6-13

Eight Democratic governors have refused to recognize the Gipper’s birthday after a record 40 states joined the chorus to declare the Feb. 6 “Ronald Reagan Day.”

The proclamation is also a tribute to Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform. Mr. Norquist heads the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project which asks the nation’s governors to set the day aside for Reagan, the Washington Examiner reports.

“Ronald Reagan led America forward to defeat the threats to our prosperity of high taxes, inflation and recession at home and a surging Soviet Empire abroad,” Mr. Norquist said. “He left America stronger, freer, and safer than the day he became president.”…READ MORE

History Buzz February 6, 2013: President Reagan’s legacy lives on as he;s remembered on his 102nd birthday

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

President Reagan’s legacy lives on as he’s remembered on his 102nd birthday

Source: Washington Times, 2-6-13

Ronald Reagan on the Heritage Foundation Facebook Page

Within hours of launch, thousands of well-wishers had already signed the virtual birthday card for Ronald Reagan — who would have turned 102 Wednesday — posted on a specially created Facebook page from The Heritage Foundation to commemorate the nation’s 40th president….READ MORE

History Buzz February 6, 2013: Ronald Reagan at 102

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Ronald Reagan at 102

Source: Heritage.org (blog) , 2-6-13

Ronald Reagan, who would have turned 102 today, was elected in 1980 with a mandate to reverse the “stagflation” of the Carter era….READ MORE

History Buzz January 16, 2013: Martha Joynt Kumar: Historian Says President Barack Obama Held Less Press Conferences in First Term than Most of Previous Presidents

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Press Conferences Not Obama’s Cup of Tea

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

According to presidential scholar Martha Joynt Kumar, Obama has given 79 pressers during his first term in office.  Obama said that his press conference on Jan. 14 was the last one he’ll do until after his second inauguration on Monday.

How does the president stack up against the three previous commanders in chief?  He certainly wasn’t as anxious to meet the press in Term One as George W. Bush, who appeared 89 times, Bill Clinton, who held 133 pressers and the all-time winner, George H.W. Bush, with 142 press conferences….READ MORE

Political Headlines December 27, 2012: Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Hero of Operation Desert Storm, Dies at 78

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Hero of Operation Desert Storm, Dies at 78

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-27-12

H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the general credited with leading U.S.-allied forces to a victory in the first Gulf War, has died in Tampa, Florida at age 78, a U.S. official has confirmed to ABC News.

Schwarzkopf, known by the nickname “Stormin’ Norman” partly for his volcanic temper, led American forces to two military victories: a small one in Grenada under President Ronald Reagan and a big one as de facto commander of allied forces in the Gulf War….READ MORE

Political Headlines December 19, 2012: Robert Bork: Conservative Trailblazer & Reagan Supreme Court Nominee Dies at 85

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Conservative Trailblazer Robert Bork Dies at 85

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-19-12

CNP/Getty Images

Judge Robert H. Bork, one of the chief conservative intellectuals of the law, who forever changed the nature of Supreme Court confirmation hearings, died Tuesday morning of heart disease, according to his son, Robert H. Bork Jr. He was 85 years old.

“Robert Bork was one of the most influential legal scholars of the past 50 years. His impact on legal thinking in the fields of antitrust and constitutional law was profound and lasting. More important for the final accounting, he was a good man and a loyal citizen. May he rest in peace,” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in a statement….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz August 30, 2012: Transcript: Newt and Callista Gingrich’s Speech to the 2012 Republican National Convention

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: 2012 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION

Full Text: Newt and Callista Gingrich’s Speech to the Republican National Convention

Source: National Journal, 8-30-12

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.

Callista: Thank you for that warm welcome. What a wonderful tribute to President Reagan and the spirit of the American people.

Newt: It’s fantastic to see so many friends here. Friends from decades of service to the party, service in public life and those who have helped us over the past few years. And we’re delighted that tonight we come together to once again renew the American spirit and put real leadership back in the White House this November.

Callista: The election of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will decisively move America to a better future. Remembering President Reagan reminds us that the choices we make matter, and this year is as important as the choice we made in 1980.

Newt: Over three decades have passed since Ronald Reagan was first elected to the White House, yet the impact of his leadership is still evident today. While in office, President Reagan had three major goals: To restore the economy; to revive the American spirit; and to defeat totalitarianism, spreading democracy throughout the world.

Callista: By remaining true to his convictions, through his belief in the American people and with tremendous optimism, President Reagan achieved these goals.

Newt: It’s striking how President Carter and President Obama both took our nation down a path that in four years weakened America’s confidence in itself and our hope for a better future.

Callista: Both weakened the respect for America abroad; both increased government programs, filled with waste and inefficiency that failed to produce results; both made promises they couldn’t keep; and, as a consequence of ineffective policies, both were unable to revive our economy and create jobs.

Newt: For example, both crippled American energy production when there were better ways to develop and use our abundant energy resources.

The Romney plan for North American energy independence is exactly the kind of bold, visionary leadership Reagan believed in, and it’s what we need now.

Callista: The Reagan presidency also teaches us that there is a better way to put Americans back to work, create millions of jobs and help every American achieve success. The Reagan program of tax cuts, regulatory reform and spending controls worked.

Newt: Reagan’s belief in small business owners and entrepreneurs is a remarkable contrast with Obama’s class warfare rhetoric, massive deficits and a passion for taxing those who create jobs. The Romney plan for a stronger middle class has deep roots in Reagan’s approach.

Callista: Reagan’s commitment to reform welfare and to create a work requirement was a major achievement when he was governor of California. His pioneering work led to the historic welfare reform bill Congress and the president passed 30 years later. This bipartisan legislation reduced the size of government, made our country more competitive and put millions of Americans back to work.

Newt: Tragically, President Obama gutted this achievement. And, like Jimmy Carter, over four years he produced little effective legislation that brought the two parties together in the interest of the nation. Obama’s waiving of the work requirements in welfare reform is just one example of his direct repudiation of President Reagan’s values.

Obama’s proud of what he’s done and of his politically motivated partisanship, but he should be ashamed for putting politics before people.

Callista: Governor Romney will return America to work, and to the principles that are at the core of President Reagan’s legacy.

This year the American people will once again have an important choice to make.

Newt: Now each of us must commit ourselves in the tradition of Ronald Reagan to come together. President Reagan said, “There is no substitute for victory.” And this November, we cannot settle for anything less.

This is the most critical election of our lifetime. Each of us must do our part now to ensure that America remains, in the tradition of President Reagan, a land of freedom, hope and opportunity. Thank you and God bless.

History Buzz August 20, 2012: Julian Zelizer: In convention speeches, history is made

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

In convention speeches, history is made

Source: CNN, 8-20-12

After losing the nomination to Gerald Ford, left, Ronald Reagan delivered an impromptu speech at the 1976 GOP convention.

After losing the nomination to Gerald Ford, left, Ronald Reagan delivered an impromptu speech at the 1976 GOP convention.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Speeches are the highlight of each party’s political convention, says Julian Zelizer
    • Some speeches put forth ideas that shape the next generation of candidates, he says
    • Others eviscerate the opposition, permanently defining candidates and parties, he says
    • Zelizer: Some speeches inspire, others make instant stars, and others flop resoundingly

 

Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of “Jimmy Carter” and of the new book “Governing America.”

Now the party is really starting. Democrats and Republicans are preparing to gather to hold their conventions, each using this precious time to tell the nation what its presidential candidate is all about….

Without any more deal-making in smoke-filled rooms, speeches are the highlight of the convention. Even when speeches are made at conventions whose candidate winds up losing, they can offer ideas and rhetoric that become integral to the party for decades to come. A look back at history reveals that there are different types of speeches that we might see in the coming weeks, each with very different purposes and effect….READ MORE

History Buzz February 20, 2012: Presidents’ Day Quiz: How well do you know our chief executives?

 

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Presidents’ Day: How well do you know our chief executives?

Source: LAT, Chicago Tribune, 2-20-12

At the funeral of President Richard Nixon in 1994, from left: Then-President Bill and First Lady Hillary Clinton; former presidents and first ladies George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan,  Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, and Gerald and Betty Ford.

At the funeral of President Richard Nixon in 1994, from left: Then-President Bill and First Lady Hillary Clinton; former presidents and first ladies George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, and Gerald and Betty Ford. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Happy Presidents’ Day. This holiday, which dates to 1971, originally was meant to celebrate the birthdays of George Washington (Feb. 22) and Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) but it’s also meant to honor all presidents. In the spirit, we offer you this quiz. How well do you know our chief executives? You’ll learn lots from visiting the 13 presidential libraries. Forty-four presidents have been installed in office, but there are only 43 people who have been president. Why? Take the quiz below and find out:

1. Barack Obama was the first sitting senator to win election to the presidency since what man?

2. Who was the first president to be impeached?

3. To what party did John Quincy Adams, the sixth president, belong?  Extra credit: Who was his father and when was he president?

4. Name another father-son presidential pair.

5. Who were the vice presidents of that father-son presidential pair in Question 4?

6. Who was the first president to die in office?

7. Who was the last president born under British rule?8. Whose grandson became president of the United States four dozen years after he was president?

9. What president was born in Iowa but orphaned at age 9 and sent to live in Oregon?

10. What president and his wife were Stanford graduates?

11. Which president graduated in 1809 from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania?

12. What president refused renomination in 1880 and thus served only one term?

13. Who was elected president after Rutherford Hayes?

14. How long did James Garfield remain in office?

15. Who served as James Garfield’s secretary of War?

16. Who succeeded James Garfield and how many terms did he serve?

17. What president suffered what was then called Bright’s disease?

18. Who is the only president to serve two terms that weren’t consecutive?

19. Who was the last Civil War general to serve as president?

20. William McKinley was shot and killed in September 1901. He was succeeded by a man his campaign manager called “that damned cowboy.” Who was that?

21. What president frequently declared, “Politics makes me sick”?

22. What president died in 1923 in San Francisco?

23. What president died 10 months after his wife died of lung cancer? (He was out of office when he died.)

24. This president graduated from West Point in the class that was called “the class the stars fell on” because it produced 59 generals. Who was that and what year?

25. Which former president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002?Answers:

1. John Kennedy

2. Andrew Johnson

3. National Republican. John Q. was the oldest son of the second president, John Adams, 1797-1801.

4. George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush

5. Dan Quayle for George H.W. Bush and Dick Cheney for George W. Bush.

6. William Henry Harrison, who died just a month after taking office.

7. William Henry Harrison.

8. William Henry Harrison.

9. Herbert Hoover.

10. Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou.

11. James Buchanan

12. Rutherford Hayes

13. James Garfield

14. Four months. He was shot July 2 and died Sept. 19, 1881.

15. Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln.

16. Chester Arthur. One term.

17. Chester Arthur. He lost the nomination for a second term, even though he knew he had Bright’s, a kidney disease. He died a year after leaving office.

18. Grover Cleveland

19. Benjamin Harrison

20. Theodore Roosevelt

21. William Howard Taft

22. Warren G. Harding

23. Richard Nixon

24. Dwight D. Eisenhower. 1915.

25. Jimmy Carter

History Buzz February 20, 2012: Presidents’ Day Gallup Poll: Americans rate Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton best of recent presidents — Richard Nixon & George W. Bush rated worst

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Presidents’ Day Gallup Poll: Americans rate Reagan, Clinton best of recent presidents

Source: LAT, 2-20-12

Reagan & Clinton

Former President Ronald Reagan presents then-President-elect Clinton with a jar of red, white and blue jelly beans in November 1992. (Paul Richards / AFP)

Presidents Day — or Washington’s Birthday, if you prefer — is a time to celebrate all of America’s past commanders in chief. Among the nation’s most recent leaders, two are celebrated far more than others: Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

That’s the finding of Gallup, at least, which recently asked Americans to judge how the last eight presidents will go down in history.

Sixty-nine percent said Reagan would go down as “outstanding” or “above average,” compared to just 10% who said “below average” or “poor.” Clinton was rated favorably by 60% of those surveyed, a 10-point improvement from the last time Gallup asked the question in early 2009. Twelve percent rated him negatively, down from 20% three years ago….READ MORE

How do you think each of the following presidents will go down in history -- as an outstanding president, above average, average, below average, or poor?

Americans Judge Reagan, Clinton Best of Recent Presidents

Public split on whether Obama will be judged positively or negatively

Source: Gallup, 2-17-12

Americans believe history will judge Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton as the best among recent U.S. presidents, with at least 6 in 10 saying each will go down in history as an above-average or outstanding president. Only about 1 in 10 say each will be remembered as below average or poor. Three years into Barack Obama’s presidency, Americans are divided in their views of how he will be regarded, with 38% guessing he will be remembered as above average or outstanding and 35% as below average or poor….READ MORE

Gallup: Reagan and Clinton are favorite presidents

Source: USA Today, 2-20-12

Americans say Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton will be judged the best presidents of the past four decades, the Gallup Poll reports.

At least six in 10 respondents say Reagan and Clinton will be considered an above average or outstanding president, Gallup said.

“Three years into Barack Obama’s presidency,” Gallup said. “Americans are divided in their views of how he will be regarded, with 38% guessing he will be remembered as above average or outstanding and 35% as below average or poor.”

The poll said, “Aside from Clinton and Reagan, only George H.W. Bush gets significantly more positive than negative ratings. (Richard) Nixon and George W. Bush are rated as the worst, with roughly half of Americans believing each will be judged negatively.”

The key to the popularity of Reagan and Clinton: They governed during good economies and got credit for improving them.

It’s worth nothing that Reagan and Clinton also survived scandals during their tenures: Reagan, the Iran-Contra imbroglio; Clinton, impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky matter.

Presidential ratings change over time, the pollsters noted…..READ MORE

Presidential Report Card: How Will Recent Presidents Go Down in History?—PICTURES

Source: National Journal, 2-17-12

Asked in a recent Presidents Day Gallup poll to rank eight modern presidents, respondents said Ronald Reagan and then Bill Clinton will go down in history as outstanding or above-average presidents. We take a look at how the rankings panned out….READ MORE

History Buzz February 17, 2012: George Washington still tops as most favorable President in Presidents’ Day Public Policy Polling survey

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Poll: George Washington still tops

This undated file photo of a 1796 Gilbert Stuart oil on canvas painting portrays George Washington, founding father and first president of the United States. | AP Photo

Eighty-nine percent of Americans say they see George Washington favorably. | AP Photo

Source: Politico, 2-17-12

George Washington still ranks as Americans’ number one president, according to a new poll out Friday.

A whopping 89 percent of Americans say they see the United States’ first president favorably, according to a Public Policy Polling survey. The nation’s most other popular presidents offer few surprises, with Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, John Adams, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, John Quincy Adams and Franklin D. Roosevelt rounding out the top ten.

Lincoln, with 85 percent favorability, just missed taking the top stop from Washington. Only two other presidents have a favorability rating over 70 percent — Jefferson at 74 percent and Kennedy at 70 percent.

Richard Nixon is by far the least popular, with 59 percent saying they have an unfavorable opinion of the scandal-ridden former commander in chief. Just 27 percent say they see Nixon positively. Ten other former presidents hit negative numbers in the poll: Lyndon B. Johnson, Warren Harding, Millard Fillmore, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, Barack Obama, Chester Arthur, Martin Van Buren, James Buchanan and George W. Bush.

Obama comes in with 46 percent saying they see him favorably and 49 percent unfavorably. His predecessor, George W. Bush, gets similar support, with 45 percent positive and 46 percent negative ratings. Americans see other recent presidents in a more positive light — Ronald Reagan is the 14th most popular president, Gerald Ford the 16th and Bill Clinton ranks 17th….READ MORE

History Buzz January 16, 2012: Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Past & Present at the White House

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

President Obama and Dr. King

Source: WH, 1-16-12

President Obama visits MLK memorial at night

President Barack Obama tours the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C., Oct. 14, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

It’s been 29 years since President Reagan signed the law to create a national holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year for the first time, however, those who wish to honor Dr. King on the holiday will be able gather in celebration at his memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Seven years ago, then-Senator Obama spoke at the groundbreaking for the memorial.

And back in October, the President spoke at its dedication, where he described the way that Dr. King continues to inspire new generations to work to fulfill his legacy:

He would not give up, no matter how long it took, because in the smallest hamlets and the darkest slums, he had witnessed the highest reaches of the human spirit; because in those moments when the struggle seemed most hopeless, he had seen men and women and children conquer their fear; because he had seen hills and mountains made low and rough places made plain, and the crooked places made straight and God make a way out of no way.

And that is why we honor this man –- because he had faith in us. And that is why he belongs on this Mall -– because he saw what we might become. That is why Dr. King was so quintessentially American — because for all the hardships we’ve endured, for all our sometimes tragic history, ours is a story of optimism and achievement and constant striving that is unique upon this Earth. And that is why the rest of the world still looks to us to lead. This is a country where ordinary people find in their hearts the courage to do extraordinary things; the courage to stand up in the face of the fiercest resistance and despair and say this is wrong, and this is right; we will not settle for what the cynics tell us we have to accept and we will reach again and again, no matter the odds, for what we know is possible.

From the Archives: Dr. Martin Luther King at the White House

Source: WH, 1-16-12

Martin Luther King, Jr. leaves the West Wing after meeting with  President Johnson

Martin Luther King, Jr. leaves the West Wing after meeting with President Johnson. August 5, 1965. Abbie Rowe, NPS: National Archive and Records Administration. (by Abbie Rowe, NPS: National Archive and Records Administration)

President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Civil Rights leaders in the  Oval Office

President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young, and James Farmer in the Oval Office. January 18, 1964. . (by Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library)

To mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the White House Historical Association has searched their archives and created a slideshow of historic images that show the impact the civil rights leader has had on several administrations. Dr King’s interactions with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson leading up to the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and the 1968 Civil Rights Act are well documented, but his first visit to the White House was actually in 1958, when he and other prominent civil rights leaders met with President Dwight Eisenhower. Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr’s Life and Legacy features images of Dr. King himself at the White House and also includes photos of President Reagan signing the King Holiday Bill in 1983 with Coretta Scott King at his side, and President Obama and his family at the national memorial that was dedicated just last year.

See the slideshow on Flickr

From the Archives: President Reagan Designates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a Federal Holiday

Source: WH, 1-13-12

Reagan signs MLK Day legislation

President Ronald Reagan signs legislation to create a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Rose Garden of the White House on November 2, 1983. (by National Archives)

Only three people have a national holiday observed in their honor: Christopher Columbus, George Washington, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, celebrated on the third Monday of January each year, marks the birthday of the civil rights leader and nonviolent activist. The call for a national holiday to honor Dr. King’s legacy began soon after his assassination in 1968—U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) introduced legislation to establish the holiday just four days after Dr. King was killed, but Congress took no action on the bill.

In the years that followed, millions of people signed petitions in support of the holiday. Coretta Scott King testified before Congress multiple times, calling for a federally recognized day to honor the life and work of her late husband. In 1980, Stevie Wonder released a song, “Happy Birthday,” which became both a hit and a rallying cry for supporters of the holiday, and civil rights marches in Washington in 1982 and 1983 only served to amplify their mission.

A bill to establish the holiday successfully passed through both houses of Congress in 1983, and President Reagan signed it into law on November 20 of that year. The first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was celebrated in 1986.

Many Americans now honor Dr. King’s legacy by participating in a community service event in their own neighborhood andhis vision of service and volunteering is more critical than ever during this economic recovery. President Obama has called on the nation to participate in a service event in their own community this Monday, January 16, 2012.

The First and Second Families, numerous members of the President’s cabinet, and thousands of other Americans across the country have committed to serve, and you can, too. Visit MLKDay.gov to find a service opportunity in your neighborhood and learn more about the Martin Luther King Day of Service.

Political Buzz August 4, 2011: Happy Birthday Mr. President! President Barack Obama Celebrates 50th Birthday at Chicago DNC Fundraiser & at White House Rose Garden BBQ

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA CELEBRATES 50TH BIRTDAY

Barack Obama 2012: Sign the President’s 50th Birthday Card

“I see Barack make choices he knows will affect every American family. That’s no small task for anyone — and more proof that he’s earning every last one of those gray hairs. — Michelle Obama in a campaign email

“It is true that I turn 50 tomorrow (Thursday), which means that by the time I wake up, I’ll have an e-mail from AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons), asking me to call President Obama and tell him to protect Medicare.” — President Barack Obama in Chicago, 8-3-11

“Even if I live to be 100. I have more yesterdays than tomorrows.” — President Bill Clinton, 1996 at 50

“Actually, the anniversaries of my birth aren’t important. What is important is that I have tried to lead a meaningful life and I think I have.” — President Ronald Reagan

“I can now retire from politics after having had Happy Birthday sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way.” — President John F. Kennedy, 1962 at 45

Barack Obama Turning 50: ‘I Feel Real Good': U.S. president may be a bit grayer but says first lady still thinks he’s cute.
As Obama Celebrates Birthday, a Look at U.S. Presidents at 50
President Obama turns 50 Aug. 4, 2011. Despite the graying hair and stresses of the job, “I feel real good about 5-0,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “I’ve gotten a little grayer since I took this job but otherwise, I feel pretty good,” he said, adding that the first lady still thinks he’s cute. He attended a birthday fundraiser Wednesday and planned two celebrations for his birthday. He was expected to spend the weekend at Camp David with family and friends…. – ABC News, 8-4-11

50 Things You Might Not Know About President Obama On His 50th Birthday: 1. He and Bill Cosby are the only people to ever get free food from Ben’s Chili Bowl.
2. He ate dog meat, snake meat, and roasted grasshopper when he lived in Indonesia.
3. He says his favorite children’s book is “Where the Wild Things Are.”
4. He owns a pair of boxing gloves signed by Muhammad Ali.
5. He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics.
6. He worked in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop as a teenager.
7. His favorite show is “The Wire.”
8. He majored in Political Science at Columbia University.
9. His father grew up herding goats.
10. He used to drive a Chrysler 300m.
11. He used the n-word in his audio book “Dreams From My Father.”
12. He watches HBO’s “Entourage.”
13. He was an avid reader of the “Autobiography Of Malcolm X.”
14. He owns several Bob Marley albums.
15. His first date with wife, Michelle Obama, was the movie “Do The Right Thing.”
16. He kept a pet ape called Tata while in Indonesia.
17. He applied to appear in a Black pin-up calendar while at Harvard, but was rejected by the all-female committee.
18. His favorite book is “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville
19. His favorite movie is the “Godfather.”
20. His high school yearbook picture inscription thanks “Tut,” “Gramps,” and the “Choom Gang.” Choom is Hawaiian slang for “pot smoking.”
21. He has seven half-brothers and sisters in Kenya from his father’s other marriages.
22. He did a good imitation of Jesse Jackson while he was at Harvard.
23. His high school nick name was “O-bomber.”
24. He won a Grammy for his audio book “Dreams From My Father.”
25. He has read every Harry Potter book.
26. He was called Barry until he became known as Barack in college.
27. He was in the Columbia Black Student Union.
28. Jesse Jackson’s daughter is his daughter Malia’s godmother.
29. His favorite artist is Pablo Picasso.
30. He can bench press 200 pounds.
31. His name means blessed by God in Swahili.
32. He was the 5th African-American to serve in the U.S. Senate.
33. He enjoys rap artists The Fugees and Jay-Z.
34. He gets his hair cut once a week.
35. He says he would’ve been an architect if he wasn’t a politician.
36. He was on the Hawaii high school state basketball champion team.
37. He was mentored by Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree who was also the lawyer for rappers Tupac and Shyne.
38. He loves playing Scrabble.
39. His favorite president is Abraham Lincoln.
40. He traveled to Kenya in 1988 and met many of his paternal relatives.
41. His favorite meal is wife Michelle’s shrimp linguini.
42. His paternal grandfather was affiliated with the Kenyan revolutionary Mau Mau movement.
43. His maternal grandfather fought in World War II.
44. Some of his maternal ancestors were slave owners.
45. He moved to Chicago and worked as a director of the Developing Communities Project after college.
46. He has a beer named after him in Kenya.
47. He wrote a children’s book “Of Thee I Sing.”
48. His father attended Harvard University.
49. His first public speech was at Occidental College, calling for the school to disinvest from apartheid South Africa.
50. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law School.
News One, 8-4-11

    • Obama’s Rose Garden 50th Birthday Bash: The President’s private 50th birthday bash, not listed on his public schedule: His gift to the press corps was a travel/photo lid shortly after 4 p.m., prompting what pooler Julie Mason called “general cheering in WH workspace.” An hour later, the party started…
      –… with dinner in the Rose Garden, accompanied by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. Then the First Lady and his daughters presented POTUS with a cake, and everyone moved into the East Room for performances that included R&B singer Ledisi, and Herbie Hancock. Stevie Wonder came up at the end and sang a medley ending in “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.” DJ Cassidy played Motown, hip hop, and ’70s and ’80s R&B.
      –The president asked everyone to dance — and they did!
      –DINNER: BBQ chicken, ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta, salad.
      –DESSERT: apple, peach, huckleberry and cherry pies; chocolate cake.
      –GUESTS: Al Sharpton, Patrick Gaspard, UBS Investment Bank President Robert Wolf, FCC Chair Julius Genachowski, Leader Nancy and Paul Pelosi, Secretary Tim Geithner, Secretary Arne Duncan, U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Rep./DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former Virginia Gov. and DNC Chair Tim Kaine, Anita Dunn and Bob Bauer, Robert Gibbs, David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Valerie Jarrett, Michael Strautmanis, Pete Rouse, Bill Daley, Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco, Denis McDonough, John Brennan, Rahm Emanuel, Tina Tchen, White House chef Sam Kass, Julianna Smoot, Marty Nesbitt, Eric Whitaker, Linda Douglass, and many more.
      –CELEBS: Jay-Z, Hill Harper, Chris Rock, Charles Barkley, Steve Harvey, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Grant Hill, Gayle King.
      –Also present: Chicago pals, law-school friends, donors – and lots of kids of friends, who stole the show by doing dance routines to the hip-hop songs, in the center of the East Room… – Politico, 8-5-11 Chicago Sun-Times, 8-5-11 Fox News, 8-5-11
    • President Obama Celebrates Birthday in Private Star-Studded Rose Garden Party: White House officials offered no details about the Rose Garden barbecue and birthday party thrown for President Obama last night. No menu, no guest list, the event did not appear on his official schedule.
      Their silence might be so as to not create the impression that the president was celebrating just hours after the Dow Jones fell 500 points. Politicians hate to be portrayed as fiddling while Rome burns, Nero-style.
      “Just left the Presidents birthday party at the White House. Herbie Hancock played, Stevie Wonder sang and yes they did the electric slide. A great night,” comedian Chris Rock tweeted.
      Rock joined other celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Jay-Z, Charles Barkley, Steve Harvey and Grant Hill, as well as the Rev. Al Sharpton, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelsoi, D-Calif., Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, White House chief of staff Bill Daley, senior adviser David Plouffe, political advisers David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and more…. – ABC News, 8-4-11
    • Obama celebrates 50th birthday at White House: With the arduous debt talks behind him, President Barack Obama celebrated his 50th birthday at the White House Thursday with a Rose Garden party, a toast from his senior staff and some good-natured ribbing from his wife.
      After spending the morning of his milestone birthday working in the Oval Office, the president headed to the Blue Room of the White House for a celebration with top aides. White House chefs were spotted cooking chicken and burgers on outdoor grills.
      Later, Obama was celebrating with family and friends, including some who came in from his hometown of Chicago, in the Rose Garden. The president’s oldest daughter, Malia, also made it home from summer camp in time to celebrate her dad’s 50th…. – AP, 8-4-11
    • Obama’s 50th Birthday: A Private Celebration: President Barack Obama is keeping a very low profile on his 50th birthday.
      He is celebrating at the White House Thursday evening with family and a close group of friends. Some of the guests flew in from his hometown of Chicago, and the president’s daughter Malia came home from camp for the day to celebrate.
      Several grills were fired up outside the West Wing all afternoon, cooking burgers for the occasion. But before Mr. Obama hits the barbecue, senior White House staff will toast him in the residence, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
      Mr. Obama had no events on his schedule, and Mr. Carney said the public will not see the president at all on this milestone day.
      Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is making the most of the president’s birthday. Mr. Obama headlined a trio of birthday-themed campaign events in Chicago Wednesday night…. – WSJ, 8-4-11
    • ‘Happy birthday, Mr President': Jennifer Hudson channels Marilyn Monroe as she serenades Barack Obama at 50th: Marilyn Monroe went down in history when she purred a seductive ‘Happy Birthday’ to President John F Kennedy back in 1962.
      And last night, it was Jennifer Hudson’s turn to channel the late film star by singing the song to President Barack Obama, albeit in a much more low key style…. – Daily Mail UK, 8-4-11
    • Here to raise dough, celebrate big 5-0, Obama says: ‘It starts now’: President Barack Obama left the heated partisan atmosphere in Washington on Wednesday for an overly warm hometown 50th Birthday Party with 2,400 fans and donors packing the historic Aragon Ballroom in Uptown.
      “It doesn’t matter how tough a week I have in Washington, because I know you’ve got me — you’ve got my back,” President Obama told the crowd. “When I come to Chicago, when I travel across the country, I know we can’t be stopped.”
      Introducing Obama, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said “This looks like the Uptown Music District,” a reference to one of the mayor’s pet entertainment projects.
      With Jennifer Hudson leading the crowd in singing Obama “Happy Birthday” and with a thermometer on the stage reading 92 degrees, Obama joked, “This is a warm welcome right here.”… – Chicago Sun-Times, 8-4-11
    • Obama’s 50th celebration: Tame by presidential standards: President Obama’s celebration of his 50th birthday is pretty tame by presidential standards, lacking starlets sewn into sheer rhinestone-studded dresses, fireworks, or the 300-pound cakes trotted out at parties thrown for some of his predecessors in the White House.
      For Obama, his birthday on Thursday gave him an excuse to visit ever so briefly his hometown of Chicago, something he rarely gets to do. And, of course, an excuse to raise more money for Democrats, something he does quite frequently with the 2012 campaign fast approaching.
      The Wednesday night event at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom was planned as a lavish event, featuring singer Jennifer Hudson and musician Herbie Hancock. The donors there to sing “Happy Birthday” paid $35,800 a head for the special dinner that goes along with the show. The money—split between Obama’s reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee—will be welcome after the debt-ceiling fight forced him to cancel other fundraisers planned for July.
      Obama, the fifth youngest president, is the seventh president to turn 50 in office; the last before him was Bill Clinton in 1996. The other five—Polk, Pierce, Grant, Cleveland, and Theodore Roosevelt—were born between 1795 and 1858 and chose to celebrate the big day pretty quietly. But quiet was not Clinton’s style…. – National Journal, 8-4-11
    • Mr. Obama’s $3,580,000 birthday present: Barack Obama turned 50 years old today. Happy birthday Mr. President. For the sake of America, I will not sing to you. I am no Marilyn Monroe.
      The best birthday wish we can give him is to have an enjoyable day with Michelle, Sasha, and Malia. May his children give him joy for many years to come.
      The day will be a celebration of Barack Obama, rendering it indistinguishible from every other day in his life. Nevertheless, today he actually is entitled to be king for a day. Tomorrow he will have to take his tiara off again.
      Mr. Obama was given a birthday president of $3,580,000, or 89% of a Kobe Bryant apology diamond. 100 obese felines, an animal that Obama pretends to disdain, all donated $35,800 for the right to inspect his (backside, redacted) and make sure it was as clean and delightful as MSNBC insists. He has every right to this money. He “earned” it…. Washington Times, 8-4-11
    • President Barack Obama Turns 50: What do you get the man who has everything? That’s the question friends and family of President Barack Obama will answer Thursday, when he celebrates his 50th birthday in Washington, D.C. According to a White House official, Obama will spend the morning working, but will later retreat to an afternoon toast by his senior staff in the blue room, and an evening celebration with family and close friends.
      “Malia is coming home from camp tomorrow just for her daddy’s birthday,” he told attendees at a Democratic National Convention fundraiser in Chicago Wednesday night. “I’m very happy about that.”… – People, 8-4-11
    • For Obama, turning 50, it’s happy fund-raising: For many men, turning 50 can be a day of reckoning, marked by graying hair, a slowing step and the wistful recognition that you are probably never going to make it to the corner office. What could be better, at such a melancholy moment, than to celebrate at home, among old friends?
      But if you are already in the corner office, and it’s oval, you get to celebrate your 50th at a fund-raiser in a Chicago ballroom, with Jennifer Hudson singing “Happy Birthday,” Herbie Hancock jamming and 100 “friends” paying $35,800 a plate to commiserate over dinner, while bankrolling your bid to keep your job… – Economic Times, 8-4-11
    • Obama’s new fundraising speech: 2008 was really bad, so I need a second term: After a rough month of enforced presidenting from within the White House, President Obama fled Washington and governing Wednesday, back to Chicago allegedly to celebrate his birthday with home folks. But, of course, the real reason was campaigning for money, raising more of it from the Windy City for his billion-dollar reelection campaign. The Wednesday highlight was supposed to be a high-stakes dinner with the president, which isn’t really dinner with the president because he just arrives late, speaks briefly and leaves without eating. The tab: $35,800 per plate.
      Despite enduring a newly sagging economy and the worst wrong track and job approval numbers of his presidency, this 50th birthday of Obama’s is turning out to be a big deal. His Russian pal, President Dmitry Medvedev, called the other day. Jennifer Hudson sang for him Wednesday. Little Rahm Emanuel, now Mayor Emanuel, praised him highly.
      Some Obama staff traveled out to Andrews Air Force Base to greet the returning POTUS at…. …midnight and sing for him. But Obama apparently couldn’t hear them. And then tonight there’s a White House birthday party, which Donald Trump is not expected to attend…. – LAT, 8-4-11
    • Michelle Obama: Husband is earning his gray hairs: First lady Michelle Obama is joining the public celebrations of her husband’s 50th birthday, sending an e-mail to supporters asking them to sign an Internet birthday card…. – USA Today, 8-4-11
    • Turning 50, President Obama becomes a Washington tweener: Washington venerates its ancients, idealizing and idolizing the elder statesman, lavishing perks and institutional potency as rewards for seniority.
      Yet the city also runs on the fuel of youth, the recent college grads who staff the offices, and the rising professionals whose ambitions juice the city’s striver culture.
      In the fuzzy middle between those poles lie the 50-somethings, federal Washington’s version of tweeners, a demographic group fraught with generation-straddling, career-tweaking, life-altering conundrums: Dump that modest-paying but idealistic government gig for private-sector riches? Hang in there for one more term in hopes that a committee chairmanship finally will be yours?
      On Thursday, President Obama — one of American history’s most precocious achievers — joins the ranks of Washington 50-somethings, an age span he’ll share with 29 U.S. senators but just one of 16 Senate committee chairmen (that would be Mary Landrieu, the Louisiana Democrat who sits atop the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee). Reaching the pinnacle of American power so early means Obama will have to figure out what to do with himself for a big chunk of his 50s, whether in 2013, when he could become a 51-year-old one-termer, or in 2017, when he could leave office as a 55-year-old two-termer.
      Obama will become just the third president to turn 50 in office in more than 130 years, following Theodore Roosevelt, whose low-key 50th in 1908 prompted a stream of messenger boys delivering congratulatory notes to the White House, and Bill Clinton, who celebrated hitting the mid-century mark in 1996 with a star-studded party and fundraiser.
      As Obama’s 50th approaches, he’s taken to quipping about getting grayer, but he still gets up and down a basketball court without reaching for the oxygen tank. Obama celebrated his 49th last year by dining with Oprah Winfrey and a few other friends while his wife and kids were vacationing. This year, he’s expected to do it up big, with a party in Chicago featuring Jennifer Hudson and Herbie Hancock, and a $35,800-a-head fundraiser…. – WaPo, 8-2-11

Michelle Obama:

Every day, I see Barack make choices he knows will affect every American family. That’s no small task for anyone — and more proof that he’s earning every last one of those gray hairs.
This has been a busy week in Washington, but today happens to be Barack’s 50th birthday. I’m writing to you because this year, the girls and I would like to do something a little different.
I’m asking friends and supporters of this campaign to wish him a happy birthday by signing his card, and sharing why you’re on this journey with us.
Your names and notes will become part of a book that tells the story of this campaign — who’s building it, why we’re in this thing, and what he means to us. We’ll deliver a copy to Barack and send one to our campaign offices across the country.
I’ve known Barack for more than 20 of his 50 years, and we’ve been through quite a lot together.
It still amazes me that no matter how many decisions and distractions he’s faced with every day, he’s always able to focus on the bigger picture. One way he does that is by making time for stories and letters from people like you — because he knows that this job isn’t about him, but about the millions of folks around the country he’s fighting for.
This next year will challenge us all to work harder than ever before, but the crucial thing is that you’re here now, early on, helping to build this campaign.
I know that, like Barack and me, you have your own reasons why, so I hope you’ll take a moment to sign the card and share your story with him and other supporters of this campaign.
http://my.barackobama.com/Birthday-Card
Thanks for being a part of this.

Scholar Craig Shirley: Reagan Would Have Handled Debt Crisis Differently Than Obama

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

Source: US News, 7-29-11

President Ronald Reagan would have handled the current debt ceiling crisis much differently than President Obama, according to Reagan scholar and author Craig Shirley. “First of all, Reagan would’ve had a plan,” he says. “We haven’t had a plan from Obama in 800 days, haven’t seen a budget in 800 days. Reagan would’ve had a budget and a plan.”

Obama and Congress have failed to negotiate a way to prevent the government from being unable to pay all of its bills, which the Treasury Department says will occur on Tuesday. The president’s critics have accused him of lacking leadership on the issue.

Shirley, a conservative operative who was recently named the first ever Reagan scholar at Reagan’s alma mater, Eureka College in Illinois, also criticized Obama’s spending priorities. “Obama’s priorities are high speed rail. Reagan’s was to win the Cold War,” he says. Reagan’s “priorities were far more important, far more consequential, because we did have thousands of Soviet nuclear warheads pointed at our grandchildren’s and our children’s heads.”

Reagan did raise the debt ceiling during his tenure at the White House, Shirley admits, adding, “but he did so because we had a larger national mission than green energy projects.”

Reagan Centennial: Ronald Reagan to be honored across Europe

Reagan to be honored across Europe

Source: USA TODAY, 5-23-11

President Ronald Reagan gives a thumbs up to a crowd Jan. 20, 1981, while first lady Nancy Reagan waves from a limousine during the Inaugural Parade in Washington.

CAPTION, AP

Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom are joining in the year-long centennial celebration of the late president Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday with tributes that will include the unveiling of Reagan statues in London and Budapest.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation announced events from June 27-July 4. In addition to the statues, highlights include a gala in Parliament’s Hunter Hall in Budapest, Hungary; a Mass of Thanksgiving in Krakow, Poland; a dinner and conference in Prague; and a black-tie gala in London.

“Ronnie would have been so touched that his centennial birthday is being celebrated in London and Central Europe,” said former first lady Nancy Reagan. “He felt a special bond with the people who struggled to be free and was so very thankful that Great Britain shared our commitment to bringing down the Iron Curtain. I know he would want these events to remind us all of the power of freedom.”

Former George W. Bush administration secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will represent Nancy Reagan at the events.

“President Reagan’s legacy of inspiring freedom changed the world,” Rice said. “It remains as relevant today as it was when the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended “particularly in Central Europe where change as a result of Ronald Reagan’s leadership is still felt in a very personal way.”

For more information: www.reagancentennial.com.

Douglas Brinkley: Mining Ronald Reagan’s one-liners

RONALD REAGAN CENTENNIAL

Brinkley: Mining Ronald Reagan's one-liners

President Ronald Reagan prepares a speech at his desk in the Oval Office for a Joint Session of Congress on April 28, 1981. Photo by Michael Evans/The White House/Getty Images. Take note of the file cards by the telephone, the ones rubber-banded together on top of the black binder. Yes, those cards
.

Source: CNN, 5-11-11

ONLY ON THE BLOG: Answering today’s five OFF-SET questions is Douglas Brinkley, presidential historian, contributor to Vanity Fair, and professor of history at Rice University. He is author of the books “The Wilderness Warrior,” “The Great Deluge” and “The Quiet World.”

Rice U

Brinkley is editor of “The Reagan Diaries,” and the new book, “The Notes: Ronald Reagan’s Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom.” – a collection of the fortieth president’s favorite quotations, proverbs, excerpts from speeches, poetry and literature, along with his jokes, aphorisms and insights into politics and life….READ MORE

Douglas Brinkley: Ronald Reagan’s note card collection being published

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

Source: USA Today, 5-8-11

“When the music of a nation becomes fast, wild & discordant it shows the nation is in confusion.” — Chinese Proverb 400 B.C.

  • The Reagan Library found a box of hundreds of note cards on which President Reagan had written things he would use in speeches.Ronald Reagan LibraryThe Reagan Library found a box of hundreds of note cards on which President Reagan had written things he would use in speeches.

The Reagan Library found a box of hundreds of note cards on which President Reagan had written things he would use in speeches.

When speechwriter Ken Khachigan sat down with Ronald Reagan after the 1980 election to draft his first inaugural address, the president-elect pulled out a sheaf of note cards written in his cramped hand of quotes and concepts he wanted to include.

“He had all this stuff he had stored up all these years — all these stories, all these anecdotes,” Khachigan recalls. “He had the Reagan library in his own little file system.”

Hoary jokes. Lines from poems. Stray historical facts. Quotes from the Founding Fathers, famous authors and communist apparatchiks.

When Reagan died, the stacks of cards he had accumulated over half a century were packed in a cardboard box, labeled “RR’s desk” and put in storage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, only to be rediscovered recently as the library prepared to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Reagan’s birth this year.

Edited by historian Douglas Brinkley, a selection is being published Tuesday in The Notes: Ronald Reagan’s Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom. The cards also are going on display at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

The book offers a window into the mind of the nation’s 40th president. Like the handwritten scripts from his days as a radio commentator in the 1970s — published in Reagan, In His Own Hand in 2001 —The Notes displays the effort he made behind the scenes to hone his performance as a speechmaker and storyteller driving home a conservative political philosophy….READ MORE

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