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'The Great Communicator'
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Political consultant Stuart Spencer, who ran Reagan's campaign for governor, recalls the 1964 speech he made on behalf of Barry Goldwater:

"Up to that point in time in political history, I'd say it was probably the biggest fund-raising speech that was ever given. ... It was a tremendous speech for that time and place in history. And that was sort of the basis of what we call 'The Speech.' ... The basic premises of that speech were the ones he used all the way through his career."


Lyn Nofziger, Reagan's first press secretary, on criticism that Reagan was simply reading lines written by others:

"Because they were saying that he was a dumb actor and all he could do is memorize lines, he made the decision himself in 1966 that when he went out and made speeches he would take questions. The people running his campaign were scared to death, not because they thought he was dumb, but because they thought he was ignorant about state issues and that sort of thing. But he's a very quick study, and he had some very good research people and he stayed on top of that."


Former GOP California legislator William Bagley recalls Reagan's first years as the state's chief executive:

"They were a disaster. ... He brought in people who had no idea what was going on. And they didn't want to govern. Now you can say government ought to be smaller. You can say there ought to be less taxes, ought to be less this, less that. But, my good God, you ought to at least know what the hell's going on. And they did not."


California Democratic Sen. Tom Hayden on Reagan's political legacy:

"I think on a personal level ... in terms of leadership and symbolism, there's a residual fondness for President Reagan ... that people generally are forgiving and don't like to scrape old wounds and, you now, he benefits because of having that movie star quality of being able to play a governor or play a president and communicate quite well. If you ask people beyond that what the legacy was in California, substantively, I think they would say that they don't know. And I'm not clear what the legacy was."


Spencer on Reagan's legacy in California:

"He left the state with a very good feeling ... and about the opportunities in the future here."


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