For nearly two years Americans have witnessed an epic battle to re-frame former President Reagan’s legacy and re-define what it means to be a Republican.
As this battle has unfolded, numerous insiders and outsiders have tried to capitalize on Reagan’s legacy by re-defining the term Reagan Republican, as well as conservative, leaving the definition of Reagan’s legacy and conservatism up for grabs. The ultimate expert on Reagan conservatism, Reagan’s widow, has largely remained silent on the candidates.
But on May 31, Nancy Reagan broke her silence after presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, paid her a visit during Romney’s West Coast campaign swing. Mrs. Reagan, the ‘Ronnie’ expert, served Romney and his wife, Ann, lemonade and cookies while they discussed politics and policy. At the end of the visit she gave the Reagan seal of approval and endorsed Romney.
In a statement released after the visit, the former first lady said, “Ronnie would have liked Governor Romney’s business background and his strong principles, and I have to say I do too.”
She also stated that she believes, “Mitt Romney has the experience and leadership skills that our country so desperately needs.” The true Reagan authority has spoken and looks “forward to seeing Romney elected president in November.”
The former First Lady added: "I am thrilled that after Tuesday's primary he (Romney) is the clear choice, having won the magic number of 1,144 convention delegates."
Ronald Reagan, the charismatic Hollywood actor who was elected governor of California and later served two terms as US president from 1981 to 1989, is a hero of the Republican Party, especially its conservative wing.
Nancy Reagan, who appears rarely in public now, fractured some ribs in a fall outside her home in March. She was forced to cancel an event last week at the Reagan Library in California and a spokeswoman said she was still recovering "slowly" from the fall.