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Inside Politics

Reagan remembered as communicator, peacemaker

40th president dies after battle with Alzheimer's


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President Bush speaks of Reagan's legacy.

Reagan's body will lie in state in Washington.

CNN's Bruce Morton on the multifaceted life of Ronald Reagan.
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REAGAN'S LIFE AND TIMES
Birth: February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois

Married: Jane Wyman 1940-1948, Nancy Davis in 1952

Education: Graduates from Eureka College, Illinois, in 1932

1932-1966: Sports announcer, motion picture and TV actor

1947-1952: President of Screen Actors Guild

1962: Campaigns for Richard Nixon, GOP gubernatorial candidate in California

1967-1974: Governor of California

1976: Loses Republican primary to Gerald Ford

1980: Elected 40th president, beating Jimmy Carter

March 30, 1981: Assassination attempt

January 11, 1989: Farewell address to the nation

1994: Announces he has Alzheimer's disease

May 16, 2002: Ronald and Nancy Reagan awarded Congressional
Gold Medal

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Former President Ronald Reagan was remembered Sunday as a communicator, a peacemaker and a champion of conservative politics.

The 40th president of the United States died Saturday at 93, surrounded by family members at his Los Angeles home.

His office said he died of pneumonia, described as a complication of Alzheimer's disease, a condition he made public in a stirring letter in 1994.

His wife of 52 years, Nancy Davis Reagan, and their two children, Ron Reagan and Patti Davis, were with him when he passed away.

In a statement released Sunday, former President Jimmy Carter said he admired Reagan's communication skills.

"President Reagan was a formidable political campaigner, who provided an inspirational voice to America when our people were searching for a clear message of hope and confidence. He had unshakeable beliefs and was able to express them effectively, both in America and abroad."

At 69, Reagan was the oldest man elected president when he was chosen on November 4, 1980, over Carter.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican, noted Reagan's place in history.

"I think he is one of the two greatest presidents of the 20th century, along with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He shaped both America and the world, and they are different places than they would have been without Ronald Reagan." (More reaction)

British Prime Minister Tony Blair credited Reagan with influencing U.S. politics and ending a global power struggle with the Soviet Union.

"At home his vision and leadership restored national self-confidence and brought some significant changes to U.S. politics, while abroad the negotiation of arms control agreements in his second term and his statesman-like pursuit of more stable relations with the Soviet Union helped bring about the end of the Cold War," a statement from Blair's office said.

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, underscored the importance of summits he held with Reagan on nuclear arms issues.

"I deem Ronald Reagan a great president, with whom the Soviet leadership was able to launch a very difficult but important dialogue." (More world reaction)

Nancy Reagan -- in a Time magazine article -- described her late husband as an eternal optimist.

"I think they broke the mold when they made Ronnie," the former lady wrote. "He was a man of strong principles and integrity. He had absolutely no ego, and he was very comfortable in his own skin; therefore, he didn't feel he ever had to prove anything to anyone."

A hearse bearing Reagan's body emerged from the estate Saturday at 5:13 p.m., escorted by police motorcycles and followed by several other cars. The flag-draped coffin was visible through the rear window.

Some people standing along the route to the funeral home in Santa Monica held American flags and others saluted. The funeral home was surrounded by hundreds of people.

Services planned

Reagan's body will be flown to Washington, D.C., probably Tuesday night, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, said.

"He will come up to the Capitol, as far as we know right now, by a procession probably Wednesday morning and lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday and Thursday, and, we think, a funeral at the National Cathedral on Friday," said Hastert, who represents the Illinois congressional district that includes Reagan's hometown of Dixon. (Reagan obituary)

Hastert said that the former president's body would be returned to California Friday for a private funeral with the family at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where the burial is planned for sunset. (Ceremony plans)

The White House and other federal buildings lowered their flags to half-staff in Reagan's honor.

President Bush paid tribute to Reagan during his address Sunday at the U.S. war cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer in Normandy, France, to honor the heroes of World War II on the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

"He was a courageous man himself, and a gallant leader in the cause of freedom and today we honor the memory of Ronald Reagan," Bush said. (D-Day heroics honored)

Reagan's "Point du Huoc" speech, delivered at Normandy on D-Day's 40th anniversary, was among his most famous.


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