Entries in Ronald Reagan (18)


Most Governors Commemorate Ronald Reagan Day

Dirck Halstead/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It was Ronald Reagan Day on Wednesday.  Well, at least in four-fifths of the country.

Forty governors agreed to commemorate what would have been the 40th president's 102nd birthday, according to the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project.

In all, 30 Republican governors, nine Democratic governors and one independent marked the occasion of Reagan's birthday.  That left eight Democratic governors who didn't sign on and two others who were non-committal.

Celebrating the late president's legacy, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist, who founded the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, remarked, "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."

Meanwhile in California, where Reagan served as governor for two terms, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown said Americans "will not forget Reagan's irresistible optimism, faith, and good humor."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Compares Romney’s Debate Performance to Ronald Reagan

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MILWAUKEE) -- Paul Ryan said that finally, a month before Election Day, people are getting to see the real Mitt Romney, and the Republican presidential nominee is starting to look a lot like Ronald Reagan.

“Did Mitt Romney not knock it out of the park the other night in Denver?” Ryan asked a crowd of about 200 donors at a fundraiser Saturday evening. “I was so excited to see that because I was thinking to myself, finally people are seeing the guy we know. Finally — I mean didn’t you kind of think of Ronald Reagan when you were watching that?”

A donor interjected that Romney’s debate performance actually reminded her of the man standing in front of them.

“We were thinking of you,” a donor yelled.

Ryan thanked the woman and said Romney’s performance showed a “decisive man,” a “man with a bedrock of principals,” and “a man who articulates how the rising tide lifts all boats.”

“A person who wasn’t afraid to defend the free enterprise system and basically make the case that the American system of freedom and free enterprise has done more to help the poor, more to help people rise up, more to create opportunity than any other economic system ever designed and why on earth would we want to trade it in for what we have in Europe?” Ryan said.

Ronald Reagan has been brought up throughout this campaign. A conservative hero that even at the mention of his name energizes crowds for the current Republican ticket, Reagan is also meant as a reminder of the 1980 election when his message of a “clear contrast” led to a win against incumbent president Jimmy Carter.

The GOP vice presidential nominee seemed to be trying to push back against the idea that Romney’s remarks, caught on a video leaked last month, that 47 percent of the electorate are “dependent” and “victims,” represent the candidate’s true view of the country.

Romney has since called the comments “completely wrong.”

Before the GOP vice presidential nominee spoke, John Hammas, the Wisconsin State Finance Chair for the Romney-Ryan campaign, said the fundraiser broke Milwaukee party records by raising $2.8 million.

The price ranges for tickets at the fundraiser at the Pfister Hotel started at $250 for donors under 35 years old and $1,000 for those older who wanted to attend the general reception. A photo with the congressman was a $5,000 donation, and the dinner cost $15,000 per couple. Those who donated $50,000 per couple or $100,000 per couple were able to meet with Ryan in a small group before the reception.

The crowd was a hometown one for Ryan, who was joined by his wife Janna and other Wisconsin politicians including Sen. Ron Johnson and Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus. During his speech he said  how “great it feels to be home.”

“Let’s see, I think I was last in this room for the Wisconsin Banker’s Association luncheon, I’ve been in this room for weddings, I’ve been in this room — we had George Bush in this room, we were in this room with Dick Cheney a number of years ago. … We are in this room to make Mitt Romney the next president of the United States,” Ryan said.

He said that the state Republicans’ ability to defeat the attempted recall of Gov. Scott Walker this summer will help Romney win this state and win the election. The yearlong recall effort ended in Walker keeping his job as well as the state legislature remaining Republican.

“We had to take this case to our fellow citizens, to our fellow Wisconsinites,” Ryan said. “Wisconsin went for Ronald Reagan in 1984 and it has not gone Republican since. Look what happened in the recalls, we know it’s within our power, we know it’s within our abilities. In 2012, let’s send our 10 electoral votes to send this country on the right track, let’s get this done.”

Ryan’s selection to the GOP ticket has tightened the polls in this state and both parties are fighting hard on the ground and the air to win this state. Recent polls still have the president with a lead of between 5 and 11 points, but others are even tighter. President Obama campaigned here Thursday on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison and a record breaking 30,000 people attended.

“This is reinvestment back in Wisconsin,” Ryan said. “If you’ve seen what our party has been able to do here, what Reince helped build in 2010, the moral courage exhibited by people like (State Sen.) Alberta Darling and what she pulled off last summer after they tried to beat her and some of her colleagues, then they tried to take back our state supreme court, they didn’t do that. Then they came after our governor and his vote margin went up.

“The lesson learned is two lessons,” he said. “Number one, tell people who you are, what you believe in, what are your principals and what you will do. That’s what we need in this country, we need leadership. We don’t have it right now.

“Second thing is get elected, then do it,” he said. “That’s what we need in this country. That’s what Scott Walker did, that’s what Alberta Darling did and that is exactly what Mitt Romney and I are going to do.”

Ryan has another fundraiser scheduled Sunday in Chicago ahead of campaign stops Monday in Ohio and the state Mitt Romney was born and raised in: Michigan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gingrich Looks to Reagan for North Carolina 

Richard Ellis/Gett​y Images(WASHINGTON) -- In Newt Gingrich’s thinking, the only primary that matters today is Delaware. If he can pull off a win he believes he can take the fight to North Carolina, which heads to the polls on May 8 and is the state that gave Ronald Reagan a new lease on life way back in 1976. If Gingrich loses badly in Delaware, even his closest advisers acknowledge the campaign is over.

Either way, Gingrich’s advisers say don’t expect Gingrich to make a decision on dropping out today. He plans to make his next move later this week after a series of already planned campaign events in North Carolina. If he wins Delaware he goes to North Carolina to continue his super-long-shot campaign. If he loses Delaware he goes to North Carolina to reassess and almost certainly drop out.

For Gingrich, North Carolina has great symbolic value. It was there in 1976 that Ronald Reagan, after a string of six losses to Gerald Ford, managed to revive his near-dead campaign with a victory that stunned President Ford.

On the strength of his North Carolina victory Reagan went on to battle Ford all the way to the Republican convention in Kansas City, Mo. Reagan, of course, ultimately lost the nomination to Ford, but Reagan won the hearts and minds of the conservative movement.

The way Gingrich sees things now, North Carolina is the place where he can bring his campaign back to life for a third time. His advisers point out that the Gingrich Super PAC still has roughly $5 million available to spend on television advertising. If the Gingrich campaign has any sign of life at all after Delaware, they expect Winning Our Future to unload most of that money in North Carolina.

Here is an ABC archive report from August of 1976 on the lead-up to the 1976 Republican convention:

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Delivers Blistering Partisan Attack on Modern Republican Party

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama delivered a blistering attack on the House Republican budget, GOP presidential candidates, and the very soul of the modern Republican Party Tuesday, at one point saying that since President Ronald Reagan raised taxes and increased spending to reduce the deficit, the 40th president and conservative icon “could not get through a Republican primary today.”

The president called the budget proposal primarily crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the chair of the Budget Committee, “a Trojan horse,” and “thinly veiled social Darwinism,” painting an apocalyptic vision of what it might mean to the public if enacted.

Addressing a convention of the Associated Press, the president said the Ryan budget is “disguised as deficit reduction plans” but “really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country.

“It is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who's willing to work for it,” he said, speaking sternly, “a place where prosperity doesn't trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class.  And by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that's built to last -- education and training, research and development, our infrastructure -- it is a prescription for decline.”

Obama said the Ryan budget “is now the party's governing platform. This is what they're running on.”

Ryan is campaigning in his home state of Wisconsin with GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney; Republicans are voting Tuesday in presidential primaries in the Badger State, Maryland, and the District of Columbia; this is at least the third time the president has made an effort to steal the spotlight from the GOP on a primary day, having delivered a fiery address to a convention of the United Auto Workers on the same February day as the Michigan and Arizona primaries, and having held his first press conference of the year on March 6, Super Tuesday.

In Waukesha, Wis., earlier Tuesday, Ryan offered a pre-buttal of the president’s speech, describing it as “‘big-government populism… He'll try to characterize those people who do not agree with where he's taking America as if we're some kind of villain in a cartoon, like the cartoons we watched on Saturday morning growing up."

“We don’t want a president to divide us,” Ryan said. “We don’t want a president who’s there to distract us.  We want a president that’s going to get the American dream back on track.”

Addressing his likely general election opponent by name for the first time at an official event, the president said “one of my potential opponents, Governor Romney, has said that he hoped a similar version of this plan from last year would be introduced as a bill on day one of his presidency.  He said that he's very supportive of this new budget.  And he even called it ‘marvelous,’ which is a word you don't often hear when it comes to describing a budget.”

The president noted that “we're already in the beginning months of another long, lively election year.  There will be gaffes and minor controversies.  There'll be hot mics and Etch A Sketch moments.”

Though this was billed as an official presidential event, Obama used Tuesday’s speech to lay out what he saw as the defining issue of the pending election: “What, if anything, can we do to restore a sense of security for people who are willing to work hard and act responsibly in this country?  Can we succeed as a country where a shrinking number of people do exceedingly well while a growing number struggle to get by, or are we better off when everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules?”

Arguing that “this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class,” the president said “I can't remember a time when the choice between competing visions of our future has been so unambiguously clear.”

“The Republicans running Congress right now have doubled down and proposed a budget so far to the right, it makes the Contract with America look like the New Deal,” he said, sarcastically referring to “renowned liberal Newt Gingrich” who “first called the original version of the budget ‘radical’ and said that it would contribute to ‘right-wing social engineering.’”

Acknowledging that the Republicans “don't specify exactly the cuts that they would make” in their budget, the president went through a list of ways the American people would be impacted, claiming:

  • “The year after next, nearly 10 million college students would see their financial aid cut by an average of more than $1,000 each.
  • “There would be 1,600 fewer medical grants, research grants for things like Alzheimer's and cancer and AIDS…  
  • “If this budget becomes law and the cuts were applied evenly, starting in 2014 over 200,000 children would lose their chance to get an early education in the Head Start program.  
  • “Two million mothers and young children would be cut from a program that gives them access to healthy food.  
  • “There would be 4,500 fewer federal grants at the Department of Justice and the FBI to combat violent crime, financial crime and help secure our borders.  Hundreds of national parks would be forced to close for part or all of the year.  
  • “We wouldn't have the capacity to enforce the laws that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink or the food that we eat.”

“You can anticipate Republicans may say, ‘Well, we'll avoid some of these cuts,’” the president predicted. “But they can only avoid some of these cuts if they cut even deeper in other areas.  This is math.”

He insisted: “this is not conjecture.  I am not exaggerating. These are facts….And these are just the cuts that would happen the year after next.  If this budget became law, by the middle of the century, funding for the kinds of things I just mentioned would have to be cut by about 95 percent.  Let me repeat that.  Those categories I just mentioned we would have to cut by 95 percent. As a practical matter, the federal budget would basically amount to whatever's left of entitlements, defense spending and interest on the national debt, period.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, disputed that these were facts, assailing the president for “resort(ing) to distortions and partisan pot-shots, and recommit(ing) himself to policies that have made our country’s debt crisis worse” instead of “reaching across the aisle to enact the changes needed to restore America’s prosperity.”

White House officials told reporters that Tuesday’s speech was a reprisal of the speech he gave in Kansas last December in which he first began to sound out populist themes and cast himself as the defender of the middle class in anticipation of this November’s general election.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Conservative by Association? Gingrich Channels Ronald Reagan

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Conservative by association? That seems to be the tact GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is taking in his effort to paint himself as the conservative alternative to fellow front-runner Mitt Romney.

The former House speaker has mentioned conservative hero Ronald Reagan 55 times in the past 18 debates, more than every other Republican candidate combined, according to an analysis by the New York Times’ Nat Silver.

From touting the work he did with Reagan as a member of the House, to drawing parallels between Reagan’s underdog upset of former President Jimmy Carter and Gingrich’s own resurgent campaign, the candidate has made no secret of his admiration for the former president.

“I am much like Reagan,” Gingrich told CNN in November. “I’m such an unconventional political figure that you really need to design a unique campaign that fits the way I operate and what I’m trying to do.”

But while Gingrich has aimed to draw close parallels between himself and Reagan, a pro-Romney super PAC has tried to put daylight between the former speaker and the former president.

An ad released Wednesday by the Restore Our Future super PAC attacks Gingrich’s plentiful Reagan references, claiming “Gingrich is no Ronald Reagan.”

“From debates, you’d think Newt Gingrich was Ronald Reagan’s vice president,” the ad’s narrator says. “Reagan rejected Gingrich’s ideas. On leadership and character, Gingrich is no Ronald Reagan.”

Silver’s debate-transcript analysis showed Rick Santorum name-dropping Reagan 14 times throughout the past 18 debates. Ron Paul and Mitt Romney each referenced him six times.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Reagan-Era Officials Seek Nuclear Free World

SGranitz/WireImage(SIMI VALLEY, Calif.) -- Using the 25th anniversary of the historic Reykjavik Summit where Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev almost reached an agreement to completely eliminate their nation’s nuclear weapons stockpiles, a global disarmament group is launching a campaign to begin multilateral talks that would do away with all of the world’s nuclear weapons by 2030.

Beginning Tuesday, Global Zero, an arms control group, is hosting a commemoration of the Reykjavik Summit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.  The event will include a gathering of one hundred prominent political, military and business leaders -- including former secretaries of state George Shultz and James Baker -- who will call for the first multilateral arms talks aimed at full nuclear disarmament.     

On Oct. 12, 1986, Reagan and Gorbachev emerged from a white frame house on the outskirts of Iceland’s capital looking glum after the collapse of talks that had come tantalizingly close to reaching an agreement that would have done away with each country’s nuclear stockpile within a decade.

In the years since the Reykjavik Summit the United States and Russia have significantly reduced their nuclear weapons inventories through subsequent nuclear arms reduction agreements. However, nuclear weapons proliferation has increased as well, as India, Pakistan and North Korea have joined the nuclear weapons club.

Matt Brown and Bruce Blair, the co-founders of Global Zero, believe a new round of U.S. and Russian nuclear disarmament talks could jump-start a process that could lead other nuclear weapons countries to agree to the phased elimination of all nuclear weapons by 2030.

"Our approach, our belief, is that the U.S. and Russia clearly need to lead. We still have 90 percent of the world’s weapons,” Blair told ABC News. He and Brown believe both countries should initially reduce their stockpiles to 1,000 weapons each, a level which might trigger China to join arms reduction talks.  

After that they envision a “critical mass” of the rest of the world’s nuclear weapons powers like India, the United Kingdom and France joining the process -- in effect creating a “domino effect” that would create international pressure for any remaining “outliers” to get involved in the process.        

Both Brown and Blair believe that reducing nuclear weapons stockpiles to zero would lead to the first universal verification programs which would only increase the international resolve in preventing countries like Iran and North Korea from pressing forward with nuclear weapons programs. "We can never get on that path unless we bring all parties to the table.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Perry Compares Himself to Reagan, Questions Global Warming

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(DERRY, N.H.) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry hit familiar conservative themes at a town hall meeting in Derry, N.H., on Friday: get rid of “Obamacare” and shrink the role of government.

“Over-taxation and over-regulation” in Washington, D.C., need to end, he said, encouraging business growth through tax cuts.

Wearing black cowboy boots, Perry started the night by stepping over an oversized red ax labeled ”ax the tax” so he could sign the “Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire Thomson Presidential Pledge,” committing to “advancing the cause of fiscal conservatism.” As he stepped over the giant ax, Perry said, “I know how to use it.”

Perry soon removed his suit jacket and began taking questions from the room.

Asked about seniors, Perry said that one of their biggest costs was for energy. He said encouraging competition between energy sectors would ultimately drive down the cost of energy and alleviate the most burdensome of costs for seniors.

The most contentious questioning came from one man who questioned Perry’s views on global warming and suggested that Perry had failed to thoroughly address his views in previous debates.

“I’m ready for you this time,” joked Perry.

After some back and forth, Perry repeated his stance that there was no “incontrovertible evidence” that global warming was man-made.

“I’m a skeptic about that,” he said. “I’m not afraid to say I’m a skeptic about that. … Why would I put our children’s future in jeopardy over science that, frankly, is not proven?”

Perry said that his record on the environment in Texas spoke for itself. His state, he said, had cleaned up its air more than any other state in the 2000s and that it was his administration, not the EPA, that was responsible for that.

Perry did not address immigration or border security and stayed away from commenting on any of his opponents.

“We need a Republican nominee who is a clear contrast with Barack Obama,” he said. “Ronald Reagan said it pretty good: Now is the time for bright colors, not pale pastels, and I’m that bright color.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rick Perry’s Defense of ‘88 Al Gore Endorsement Runs into Reality

Tom Williams/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- As he has risen to the top of national Republican presidential polls over the last few weeks, Rick Perry has been forced to confront his past -- including the years he spent as a Democrat. In particular, Perry has been fielding questions about his support for Al Gore in the 1988 presidential race. Perry, who did not switch to the Republican Party until 1989, served as a high-profile Texas supporter of Gore’s presidential bid.

More than two-decades later, as the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, Perry frequently cites Gore’s support of the Strategic Defense Initiative, a Ronald Reagan-era anti-ballistic missile proposal that later came to be known as Star Wars.

Last weekend, at a campaign appearance in Ottumwa, Iowa, Perry called Gore a “strong Strategic Defense Initiative proponent.”

But Gore’s support for the Strategic Defense Initiative while he was running for president in the late 1980′s was not nearly as enthusiastic as Perry implies. In a January 1988 interview with Florida’s St. Petersburg Times, Gore was asked whether he would support increasing research funds for the initiative. His response: no way.

“I oppose absolutely any plan for development or deployment of the Strategic Defense Initiative system,” Gore said. “Research on SDI should be confined to a strict interpretation of the ABM treaty. The focus of this research should be to assure that we have a state-of-the-art understanding of the basic science and technology that could be relevant to defense.”

And a few months later, in April 1988, Gore was quoted in the Washington Post as saying that the Strategic Defense Initiative was wrong-headed.

“‘I’m sure that President Reagan sincerely believes he is acting with the best of purposes in looking to SDI as a way to permanently end the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation,” Gore said. “But he is wrong -- wrong because SDI is not feasible, wrong because it would entail exorbitant costs and, most important, wrong because it would make the possibility of a nuclear first-strike more likely.”

In the years since, Perry has taken pains to disavow his past support for Gore, saying that he did not know about the future vice president’s views on the environment. But Perry has continued to use the Strategic Defense Initiative as justification for his endorsement more than 20 years ago.

The Perry campaign declined to comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Perry’s Campaign Circulates Internal Romney Campaign E-mail

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rick Perry’s campaign was quick to circulate an e-mail Wednesday that’s been making the rounds within the campaign of another presidential contender -- Mitt Romney.

Perry’s press team sent reporters an “In Case You Missed It” e-mail originally sent from the Mitt Romney “War Room” to a list of undisclosed recipients.  The e-mail highlighted an article about Perry’s recent defense to questions of his intelligence, saying President Ronald Reagan was also cast as dumb by critics.

When asked if this was a shot across the bow at Romney, Perry’s campaign told ABC News, “You can interpret it however you’d like.”

“It’s their e-mail that they’re comparing Reagan to, highlighting the comparison of President Reagan and Gov. Perry,” Mark Miner, a spokesman for Perry, told ABC News.  “We appreciate the Romney campaign providing us some information to send out.”

Miner said the Romney e-mail was sent to them, but did not disclose the sender’s identity.

Officials at the Romney campaign confirmed that the e-mail message containing the news clip was circulated within their campaign, but noted that it was just one of hundreds of articles that are sent from their team’s “war room” every day.

“We internally distribute news stories on a variety of topics, which are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute the viewpoints of the campaign,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul told ABC News.

Perry is atop the Republican field in recent polls after ousting Romney from his frontrunner status, but the two have yet to fully engage one another.  Romney took a veiled swipe at Perry, who has served in Texas government for three decades, on Tuesday when he said career politicians were to blame for the troubled economy.

“Career politicians got us into this mess and they simply don’t know how to get us out,” Romney said Tuesday at the VFW convention in San Antonio, Texas.

But Perry’s campaign didn’t take the bait, saying the swipe at career politicians couldn’t be directed at Perry, whose resume includes several years working outside of government.

Romney and Perry will face each other for the first time next week since Perry entered the presidential race.  They will both attend Sen. Jim DeMint’s Palmetto Freedom Forum in Columbia, South Carolina on Labor Day and join their fellow Republican contenders at a debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in California next Wednesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Reagan on Mt. Rushmore? Why Conservatives Love the Idea

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Ask the most passionate admirers of former President Ronald Reagan to rate the greatness of his legacy, and they'll likely put him in the company of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt.

Some have even suggested the 40th president deserves to literally join the quartet, carved in stone on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

While Congress debated and ultimately rejected that idea in 1999, the concept still tickles conservatives, who see the question -- should Reagan be on Rushmore? -- as an entree to discussing the former president's clout.

"Is he of that stature?  The answer is yes," said Grover Norquist, chairman of the Reagan Legacy Project.  "Reagan was the most successful president of the twentieth century.  He took a country that was in economic collapse and militarily in retreat around the globe and turned it completely around."

Norquist, who led the effort to rename Washington's National Airport after Reagan, has been using the president's centennial anniversary to make a renewed push to bring the Reagan name and likeness to every county in all 50 states.

"In South Dakota, Reagan deserves a mountain carving of his own, like Crazy Horse," he said, referring to the Native American leader who has a monument down the road from Rushmore.

Reagan already has more than 100 official physical namesakes in at least 27 states and four countries, according to a list compiled by the National Archives through January 2010.  They include nearly a dozen schools, courthouses and post offices, highways, an aircraft carrier, and even hotel suites.

A 5,533-foot peak in New Hampshire's White Mountains was renamed Mount Reagan in 2003.

In the Marshall Islands, the U.S. military tests weapons at the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Site.

And in Poland, what was once Central Square in downtown Krakow now bears the Reagan name.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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