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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS
Washington Prepares For President Reagan's State Funeral
Aired June 9, 2004 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This hour, Ronald Reagan's body is being flown cross- country, as our nation's capital readies for just the 10th state funeral of an American president. With about 20 current heads of states and hundreds of other VIPs expected, Washington is on alert.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's only so much we can do. This is an event that is very historic in nature. People are going to want to come out and see it.
ANNOUNCER: A congressional legacy.
REP. TOM DELAY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: If you look at the Congress today, you are looking at the Reagan Congress.
ANNOUNCER: We'll speak with Tom DeLay, one of the top leaders a Congress Ronald Reagan helped build.
Now, "Remembering Ronald Reagan," a special edition of JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS, live from the U.S. Capitol.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.
The plane that sometimes serves as Air Force One is en route to Washington at this hour carrying the body of Ronald Reagan. The huge 747 jet, with the former president's widow, Nancy, and other families and friends on board, left California at 12:40 Eastern time today. It is expected to land about two hours from now at Andrews Air Force Base just outside Washington, where a very formal, very detailed chain of events will be set in motion to honor the life of the nation's 40th president.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): The preparations are over. Washington appears ready for Ronald Reagan's state funeral. After a brief ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base, a hearse will drive the late president's body to a location in front of the White House.
There, at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, the casket will be transferred to a horse-drawn caisson. The formal procession then heads east on Constitution Avenue, towards the Capitol Building. Minutes later, a flyover of 21 F-15 jets, one of the jets shooting straight up in the military man maneuver. Once the casket reaches the west front of the Capitol, it will be walked up the grand entrance, where Mr. Reagan was sworn in as our 40th president. The casket will then be led up this set of stairs leading to the Rotunda.
WOODRUFF: Much like the scene at the Reagan Library in California this week, crowds already are gathering for the chance to view Ronald Reagan's casket as it lies in state, here in the Capitol Rotunda.
CNN's Elaine Quijano is standing near the Capitol, where the lines are already forming.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Judy.
We have seen this line build throughout the morning. The first person arrived here, the first person to secure a place, just after 5:00, well before the event officially opens to the public. Some have traveled from just the nearby Washington, D.C. area, but others have traveled quite great distances to be here, including this man who joins me now, 79-year-old Rich Paul (ph).
You traveled here 1,300 miles, drove nonstop 18 hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One way, yes.
QUIJANO: One way. To be here. Why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of Ronald Reagan. I just love the man. I think he's a very good patriot, like a colonial patriot. He gave so much to our country. And I just love the man.
He's such a person -- and his family -- he has got a beautiful life. And he stressed the values of America. You know, we need this kind of love.
QUIJANO: And for you personally, I notice many people here have turned out in shorts, short sleeves, the temperatures are in the 90s. But you obviously stand out wearing a three-piece suit. Why did you want to come in this formal wear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Ronald Reagan would have done the same thing. He would have come dressed up. And he deserves this. He is really such a special person.
QUIJANO: Now, Mr. Paul, you were telling me that you don't necessarily have a lot of money to spend. The Washington, D.C. area hotels can be quite expensive. But you felt it important to be here. So you plan to do what tonight because you would like to still be here tomorrow as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. QUIJANO: You said you are going to sleep in your car tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I plan on doing that. I can sleep pretty good tonight. I'm tired.
QUIJANO: What do you think of the atmosphere here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beautiful.
QUIJANO: Seeing the other folks who are sharing their recollections with you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, very beautiful.
Everything has been -- the people, even the press and everybody has really kind of picked up on Reagan. And I'm just tickled about that. He owed -- we need it. We owe it to him, you know? It's just wonderful, very fine. Thank you so much.
QUIJANO: All right, Rich Paul from Omaha, Nebraska, traveling some 18 hours driving to be here.
He said to me earlier that he felt a compulsion to stay and be a part of this event here. I can tell you that the history that these people want to be a part of they're very much dedicated to making sure that they are here for -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Good for him for standing out there in that three- piece suit. Elaine, thank you very much.
Well, members of Congress took time earlier today to offer their thoughts on the passing of Ronald Reagan.
Our congressional correspondent Ed Henry is with me now, across the street from the Capitol.
Ed, what are they saying?
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon.
Basically, we're here hearing both parties talking about the legacy of Ronald Reagan, saying that they are looking forward to the pageantry, the pomp and circumstance tonight, Democrats saying obviously this is not a time for partisanship, and Republicans saying that they're glad to see that they -- they want to really not just be sad, but they want to celebrate the life of Ronald Reagan.
Here's what Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: These past few days, we have seen an extraordinary outpouring of affection for our 40th president, Ronald Wilson Reagan. In a few short hours, he will lie in state under the Capitol dome, where dignitaries from around the world and citizens from across the country will pay their respects to the man from Dixon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Judy, the most interesting part is that, while both parties have dropped the partisanship, obviously, and they have also scraped most of the legislative business to focus on the state funeral, in fact, what is going on are, Republicans are bickering in a friendly way a little bit about how best to honor Ronald Reagan.
We've already had for a long time Republican Congressman Mark Souder talk about putting Reagan's face on the dime. Now House Majority Leader Tom DeLay came out today and said he wants to put Reagan on the $10 bill. Senator Mitch McConnell wants to do that as well. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher says, no, no, let's put him on the $20 bill and knock out Andrew Jackson.
But most interesting perhaps is that Bill Frist himself is now saying that the Pentagon should be named after Ronald Reagan. And just a short time ago, Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner said he thinks that is a bad idea.
WOODRUFF: So how does all this get resolved?
HENRY: Well, I think what Warner was pointing out is that maybe there shouldn't be a rush to judgment.
Obviously, everybody wants to honor Ronald Reagan, but that they should let some time pass. And what Warner was also saying is that, after President Eisenhower died, a lot of people wanted to name the Pentagon after him. But the feeling back then in 1969 was that you shouldn't have a former president of either party at the Pentagon, to name them after the Pentagon, because it should be a bipartisan place, not a Democratic or Republican place.
And I think we also speak earlier to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is saying that, while she didn't agree with a lot of Ronald Reagan's policies, that it is time to reflect now and she wants to come together. And she is really looking forward to the pageantry this evening.
Here's what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I think many people in the Congress are thinking of Mrs. Reagan and her family at this sad time and hope that the fact that the whole world mourns their loss is a comfort to them. But the pageantry that goes with the burial of a president is appropriate to the office and appropriate to the leadership of Ronald Reagan.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HENRY: So now everyone is just waiting to see the crowds come in. They want to know how many people are going to pass through. The original estimates were maybe 100,000. The Capitol police chief, Terry Gainer, is saying it could grow to 150,000 or more. Everyone is just waiting to see now, after all this planning and careful preparation.
WOODRUFF: Today and tomorrow, days that we have not seen the likes of for over three decades here in Washington.
WOODRUFF: Ed Henry, thank you very much.
Well, as Washington prepares to honor Ronald Reagan, it has already been a day filled with ceremony out West in California. This morning, the former president's casket was taken from his presidential library to a nearby Naval air station, where, after a briefing ceremony, it was loaded on a plane used as an alternate to Air Force One.
The ceremony featured a military salute, as well as Marine band playing "Hail to the Chief," "God Bless America" and "Amazing Grace." Nancy Reagan then boarded the jet alongside a military escort. In a gesture reminiscent of her late husband, she turned and waved to the crowds which had gathered to watch the ceremony.
President Bush will not be on hand when Ronald Reagan's body arrives here in the nation's capital. He is hosting the G-8 Summit on the coast of Georgia. Vice President Dick Cheney is here. He will take part in today's ceremonies.
For the very latest on summit developments, our White House correspondent Dana Bash joins us from Savannah.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy.
And President Bush is still basking in the glow from his victory yesterday at the U.N. Security Council, a unanimous vote on a new Iraq resolution. As a matter of fact, the president just posed for the traditional photographs with all the world leaders that he invited to the G-8 summit, not only members of the G-8, but also African leaders and also leaders from the Arab world.
Now, the president met this morning with his partner in the war on Iraq, Tony Blair. And the two discussed what's next, how they deal with security in terms of beefing up Iraqi security forces, how the multinational force is going to play in Iraq. And also the president said that he and Tony Blair talked about the fact that NATO has a minimal support role, but perhaps it should be expanded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will work with our NATO friends to at least continue the role that now exists and hopefully expand it somewhat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: And the theme, of course, of this summit, as we've been talking about, is unity and smoothing over differences between the U.S. and Great Britain and some allies that they had problems with on the war in Iraq, like France.
And just moments after President Bush talked about perhaps NATO getting involved, Jacques Chirac, the French president came out and said that he did not think NATO is appropriate to be involved on the ground in Iraq. He said it's not NATO's purpose to intervene in Iraq. And Chirac also had words of caution for the Bush White House on what is their top agenda item here. And that is an initiative to promote freedom and democracy in the Middle East, more rights in the Middle East.
Several Arab leaders here came at the invitation of President Bush, you see there arriving earlier today, to talk about those reforms. But Mr. Chirac said it's important not to provoke these nations. And that is exactly what the White House is essentially trying to do, perhaps not provoke, but at least to prod them to inspire some reforms within their own countries -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Dana, we know that former first lady Nancy Reagan has been outspoken on the subject of stem cell research, urging the president to change his position resisting more research involving fetal stem cells. And, today, I know you sat down with first lady Laura Bush and talked to her about that.
BASH: That's right. Judy.
And the White House of course is well aware of the mounting pressure for the president to change his position on stem cells, which is essentially not to allow federal funding for anything except the stem cell lines that already exist.
The first lady, who we did talk to today, recognizes that this is a moral dilemma. And she said that it's a tough one and it's one that we need to be delicate about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: Everyone supports stem cell research and so did the president. And there are lines, embryonic lines, of stem cell for research. It's a very delicate balance between what we want to do for science and for research and what is ethically and morally right to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: And the first lady speaking from some experience, at least, at least some acknowledgement of what Nancy Reagan is talking about, because her father died of Alzheimer's. So she said she understands that there is a potential question of whether or not it is important to use stem cell research to help cure deceases or whether it is simply morally not accurate to do that and not important to do that.
But, at this point, it's important to point out, Judy, that the White House is resisting calls to compromise on Mr. Bush's decision, a senior official saying earlier today that the White House is concerned about finding a cure for Alzheimer's, but they say that it's important to take into account the moral dilemma that this causes.
WOODRUFF: That view coming in loud and clear in that interview.
Dana, thank you very much.
Well, from jelly beans to bringing down the Berlin Wall. Up next, Ronald Reagan's effect on today's Republican leadership. I'll speak with the majority leader of the House, Tom DeLay.
Plus, taking no chances. We'll have a live report on the massive security arrangements for Reagan's funeral ceremonies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERV GRIFFIN, ENTERTAINER: He said wonderful things. He just -- it was always great to be in his company. And Nancy, who is one of the dearest women in the world, you know, is just sweet and full of fun and great senses of humor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: And, later, remembering friends, Merv Griffin on the Nancy and Ronald Reagan he knew.
WOODRUFF: To get an idea of Ronald Reagan's extraordinary effect on the Republican Party, look no further than the current leadership of Congress.
Joining us now to talk a little about that, the majority leader of the House of Representatives, Tom DeLay.
Good to see you.
DELAY: Hi, Judy.
WOODRUFF: You were just telling me that Ronald Reagan literally inspired you to get involved in politics in the first place.
I was one of those people that just sat around a coffee table and griped about the government. And I saw this speech by this governor from California. And I just -- I was totally inspired. This guy believed what I believed. And I wanted to do something about it. Then he ran against Gerald Ford in the primary, Republican primary, in 1976. And I became a precinct chairman in support of his candidacy.
WOODRUFF: This was in Houston? DELAY: In Houston, yes.
WOODRUFF: And so then, a few years later, he was elected president. And by then, you were then in the state legislature.
DELAY: Right. I ran for office at the calling of Ronald Reagan. He called people to come out of private sector and get involved. And I did. I ran for office in a county that shot Republicans, didn't elect them, and won.
WOODRUFF: You came to Washington. You were elected in '84, came in '85. He was beginning his second term as president.
WOODRUFF: Tell me about interactions you had with him as a freshman, as a new member of Congress.
DELAY: Well, I was a freshman from Texas in the minority. You talk about a back-bencher. They gave me a chair in the back of the chambers. I was such a nobody. But I was there to support Ronald Reagan in what he was doing.
The one thing I wanted my whole freshman year is, I just wanted my picture with him and my family.
WOODRUFF: Did you get it?
DELAY: Well, it took me a year and half. The congressional staff -- liaison staff from the White House wouldn't let me get my picture. So I threatened them with a vote.
DELAY: Yes, I threatened them with a vote. And they finally let me do it. He was just wonderful. My daughter was 13 years old. And we were in one of those lines where they just move you in, take a picture and move out.
He spent 20 minutes with my daughter, telling her stories and talking to her. And to this day -- she's 32 years old, and she'll never forget that moment.
WOODRUFF: So what did he mean to you as a public figure and as a sort of spiritual leader of conservatives in this country?
DELAY: He means the same thing today he meant to me back then.
He was my hero. He was an incredible leader. I was just amazed, because everybody has their own notion of what a politician was. But here was a man that knew what he wanted. He stood up to communism and called evil by its name. And, on the domestic front, he faced the Democrat-controlled Congress and took incredible criticism. Yet he stuck to his principles. And he accomplished so many things, not the least of which is the Cold War.
But he did some things here on the domestic front that were just amazing. He's still doing that now through us.
WOODRUFF: Teddy Kennedy, of all people, put out a statement today about Ronald Reagan, praising him on so many fronts, and among other things saying, he could disagree with you during the day, but, at the end of the day, he wanted to sit down and have conversation, have some sort of social interaction. Some people have said that doesn't exist anymore in Washington. What do you think about that?
DELAY: That's just absolutely not true. George W. does that all the time. He has people into the White House to go out on the Truman Balcony to....
WOODRUFF: Even Democrats?
DELAY: Even Democrats. It's just not true.
I also must say, back then, the Democrats hated him. Particularly the left, they did anything and everything they could do. They called him stupid. They called him arrogant. They called him reckless. And none of that's changed today either.
WOODRUFF: And so, quickly, yes, what do you think of the praise that he's getting from those Democrats today?
DELAY: I'm very pleased that they recognize a person like Ronald Reagan that has made the accomplishments that he's made. And I'm real pleased that the Democrats are honoring him and being nice about this whole sad time, but a time to celebrate Ronald Reagan's life, too.
WOODRUFF: Tom DeLay, the majority leader of the House, thank you so much for stopping by. We appreciate it.
DELAY: Pleasure, Judy. I'm glad to be with you.
WOODRUFF: Good to see you. Thank you.
The rise of Ronald Reagan on the national scene meant new power for the Republican Party. Ahead, how the effect of the Reagan presidency led to major changes for the other party as well. Senator Chris Dodd talks about the Reagan presidency and its effect on Democrats.
WOODRUFF: Ronald Reagan's election in 1980 gave conservatives new clout. That clout eventually gave the GOP control of both houses of Congress.
Connecticut Democrat Chris Dodd was elected to the Senate the same year Ronald Reagan won the presidency.
Chris Dodd joins me now to talk about Ronald Reagan and the Democrats. What was it like being a Democrat with Ronald Reagan in the White House?
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, as I say, just point out, I was elected with him. I was one of two Democrats that came into the Senate, 16 Republicans that year. So the Senate turned Republican for the first time in many years.
The House of course was still in the hands of Democrats. So this president, in fact, during his entire eight years, had to work with Democrats in Congress all the time, because, in '86, the Democrats rewon the Senate back, control of the Senate. So for the remaining two years of his term, he had both the House and Senate that were Democratic. And you could work with Ronald Reagan. I know that people don't remember these events.
They talk about how Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan always had, at the end of a day, shared Irish stories and even a glass of good Scotch or something. They also worked together. The Social Security system is intact today because Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill got together on that issue. Ronald Reagan was very ideological. There's no question about it. There were huge differences.
He was not theological in his politics. Jim Baker said it very, very well the other night. Ronald Reagan believed that, if you could end the day getting 80 percent or 50 percent of what you wanted, it was a good day. And he didn't demand purity. He didn't demand perfection. So you could work with him.
WOODRUFF: Well, how is that different from Republicans today? Ronald Reagan was a very conservative president. You have conservatives in power in the Congress and the White House today. What made it so possible for Democrats to get work done, to get the job done with Ronald Reagan?
DODD: Well, it wasn't just the president. It was the people around him as well.
I can recall, as a very junior member of the Senate, being invited to come to the Oval Office along with senior Democrats in the Congress to talk about Central America and the policy there. And there was a good, long discussion with the principals around the president, the president himself. There were people like Tom Foley was there, Jim Wright. Senator Byrd was there, along with Vice President Bush. Colin Powell, I recall, being in the room, and Howard Baker.
And there was a good discussion about it. I must say, Judy, today, you hardly have those kind of meetings anymore between White House principals and members of Congress. You do one-on-one, but there's not the engagement that occurred in those days. And certainly, as a very junior member, I don't want to overstate my case. I was rarely invited as a very junior member of the Senate and certainly a member of the minority, the Democratic Party, at that time. But Ronald Reagan was engaged and his staff were, his principals were, with Democratic leadership up here. That doesn't happen enough today.
WOODRUFF: Do you give Ronald Reagan credit for ending the Cold War?
DODD: He certainly deserves part of the credit.
But we have also got to give people like Pope John Paul a tremendous amount of credit, people like Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel. It was beginning to move in that direction. Eastern Europe was beginning to come apart. Certainly, Ronald Reagan deserves some of that credit, undoubtedly. Does he deserve all of it? I think that goes a bit too far. But I don't believe we would have had as much success had he not been as forceful as he was. So, certainly, he deserves some of the credit.
WOODRUFF: Any thoughts, Senator Dodd, about how Ronald Reagan would view the current war on terrorism?
DODD: Well, I remember 1983, when the troops in Beirut coming back.
I think he'd be, as a conservative, he'd be very uneasy about government overreaching. Certainly, he'd want to fight terrorism. But I think he'd be careful about having the government peering too deeply into the areas of people's lives that many of us think that the present law does. It needs some changes, certainly certain areas like libraries and so forth.
So I think Ronald Reagan would be inherently suspicious of the Patriot Act and would want to sort of have a sort of a show-me attitude about why certain provisions were absolutely necessary. I think he'd be more cautious about it.
WOODRUFF: Of course, we can only speculate about all of that.
DODD: That's true. Absolutely.
WOODRUFF: But, Senator Chris Dodd, it's good to see you.
DODD: Nice to see you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Thanks very much for taking the time.
DODD: You bet.
WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.
Speaking of terrorism, in this age of terrorist threats, the first state funeral in Washington in more than three decades is a major security concern.
Just ahead, our Jeanne Meserve joins me from Constitution Avenue with a look at the security that is now in place for the Reagan funeral ceremonies.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back to this special edition of INSIDE POLITICS and our coverage of the Reagan funeral ceremonies. We are at the United States Capitol, where the body of the nation's 40th president will lie in state after it arrives here just a short time from now.
President Reagan's body is on its way from California aboard a presidential Boeing 747. It's scheduled to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base, outside of Washington, in about an hour and a half from now. The former president's casket will travel by hearse into the city, where it will be transferred to a horse-drawn caisson for a procession down Constitution Avenue to the Capitol.
Before President Reagan's death, security officials were in Washington, already concerned about the threat of terrorist attacks. And the Reagan funeral ceremonies only heighten those concerns.
CNN's homeland security correspondent, Jeanne Meserve, is with us now. She is at Constitution Avenue and what, Jeanne, 16th Street?
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITYCORRESPONDENT: Sixteenth. This is a key venue. This is where the Reagan casket is going to be transferred from a hearse onto that horse-drawn caisson. As you can see, the White House right behind us. It will move from here on up to Capitol Hill.
The security at this point in time is not obvious. They are in the process of shutting down Constitution Avenue. We see some police, we see some military. But don't be deceived. There have been massive security preparations for these events.
MESERVE (voice-over): The regal National Cathedral, a place of worship, surrounded by security fences and law enforcement. A jarring image.
JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: It is a sad commentary when the observation of a memorial service for a former president of the United States must be labeled a national security special event. Such is the fact of modern life in Washington, and such is the nature of the war against al Qaeda.
MESERVE: Dozens of state and local agencies, with the Secret Service in the lead, are still scrambling to cement in place a security plan for a series of events expected to draw 20 heads of state and hundreds of other VIPs.
STEVE SIMON, RAND: There's no doubt, it's a delectable target. You look at who's there. Why not? Seems great.
On the other hand, it's not, you know, just a matter of targeting strategy and who you'd like to kill, but it's a matter of, you know, whether you can kill them. And that's another story.
MESERVE: Authorities are moving to harden targets, but say there is no cookie cutter security template for an event involving California, multiple sites in and around Washington, and large crowds.
CHIEF CHARLES RAMSEY, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: There's only so much we can do. This is an event that's very historic in nature. People are going to want to come out and see it.
MESERVE: In the nation's capital, expect a heavy police and military presence, with canine teams, sharp shooters, surveillance, Coast Guard patrols, extensive road closures, and increased railroad security. In California, new flight restrictions will be imposed Friday around the burial site.
Unexpectedly large crowds at the Reagan Library are leading officials to revise upwards their estimate of how many will pay their respects in Washington. Each person entering the Capitol will go through magnetometers.
TERRANCE GAINER, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: They will not be able to bring cameras into the Capitol. They should keep their cell phones off, or not have them, we prefer, and not to bring bags and backpacks and those type of things.
MESERVE: The Secret Service, already handling another national special security event, the G-8 economic summit in Georgia, is stretched, but insists the Reagan funeral will be safe and secure.
MESERVE: It helps that the agencies involved work together often and did so most recently on the dedication of the World War II Memorial. But homeland security officials want to strike a balance here. They do not want the security to overshadow the ceremony.
Judy, back to you.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jeanne. Thanks very much. And I know you're going to be standing by in the hours to come when that caisson begins its long journey down Constitution Avenue.
Well, while Ronald Reagan led the executive branch of government, his eight years in the White House did have an important effect on two other branches, the legislative and the judicial. His effect especially significant on the U.S. Supreme Court. Here now, CNN national correspondent, Bob Franken.
RONALD WILSON REAGAN, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear...
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No president since has had such an influence on the Supreme Court.
REAGAN: The role assigned to judges in our system was to interpret the Constitution and lesser laws, not to make them.
FRANKEN: President Reagan placed three new justices, O'Connor, Scalia and Kennedy, and promoted one chief, William Rehnquist. Nevertheless, the right to an abortion, though modified, is still the law of the land, much to the chagrin of the anti-abortion movement President Reagan supported. So is affirmative action, which he opposed. His very first nominee has had something to do with that.
REAGAN: I will send to the Senate the nomination of Judge Sandra Day O'Connor of Arizona Court of Appeals for confirmation as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.
FRANKEN: She was the first female justice. But Sandra Day O'Connor is better known now as the so-called swing vote. She's not the only one.
Anthony Kennedy has also frustrated conservatives. Of the Reagan appointees, Antonin Scalia has consistently tried to tug the court much more to the right.
ROBERT BORK, FMR. SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: This is, in large measure, a discussion of judicial philosophy.
FRANKEN: It might have moved much further had Robert Bork made it. But the Senate rejected Bork as a legal extremist. And the bitterness from his brutal confirmation fight lasts to this day.
REAGAN: I have appointed a man who has been lied about, who has been treated with distortions that actually amount to a lynching.
FRANKEN: Even so, President Reagan's judicial impact extends far beyond the highest court. All together, he appointed 334 federal judges.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he probably had a greater impact on the judiciary than any president in our history except Franklin Roosevelt.
FRANKEN: Well, Franklin Roosevelt had four terms, Ronald Reagan just two. But his legacy lives far beyond his 40th presidency. After all, it was the four Reagan appointees who provided the bulk of the majority that saw to it that the 43rd president was Republican George W. Bush -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. Bob Franken, thank you very much. Also standing on Constitution Avenue.
Well, Dick Thornburgh was appointed attorney general, in fact the third attorney general under former President Reagan. He is with us now in our Washington bureau.
Dick Thornburgh, would you agree with Bob Franken's -- or rather I should say the assessment of those Bob Franken talked with that Ronald Reagan probably had the greatest impact on judiciary next to Franklin Roosevelt?
RICHARD THORNBURGH, FMR. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think that's an accurate statement from the top at the Supreme Court, down to the number of district and circuit judges he appointed. He made his stamp very evident on the judiciary.
WOODRUFF: Did you -- what was it like for you coming in -- you came in the last year of the Reagan presidency, in 1988. At that point, how -- what was the feel of this administration that was -- knew that it was leaving, it was, in effect, a lame duck at that point?
THORNBURGH: Well, I knew the president well because during my service as governor of Pennsylvania we worked very closely with the White House on a number of key issues. And I was honored to serve him. And there was no air of lame duck around the White House.
In fact, events had -- were in the driver's seat. We had to deal with the very first terrorist attack on American citizens in Lockerby. And he expected and we tried to provide a worldwide effort to investigate and determine who was responsible for that dreadful incident. And in due course, carried out a successful prosecution. But it wasn't until last year that Moammar Gadhafi of Libya admitted that his agents were the ones responsible.
WOODRUFF: That is so true. Dick Thornburgh, you've dealt with so many public officials over the years. How was Ronald Reagan different from all of them, to you personally?
THORNBURGH: Well, I was privileged to serve in the Department of Justice under five different presidents. And there was two areas that Ronald Reagan stood head and shoulders above all the rest. And I think one was in his ability to communicate to the public what his concerns were. And secondly, his political instincts. He had an intuition about what the people wanted and how he was going to achieve it.
And the other thing, I think, was he was so remarkably optimistic. During the time he came into office, President Carter was talking about a crisis of confidence. And the president, as a steadfast patriot, proceeded to turn the country around.
I don't believe the man had an enemy. He was able to disarm people with charm and humor and some of that inexhaustible supply of stories, often in the areas of two of my favorites, old movies and baseball. He just was a very affable person. And in spite of the fact that he accomplished so much, he never let it go to his head.
WOODRUFF: Any quick favorite story about either how he diffused a crisis or won over a potential enemy?
THORNBURGH: Well, they are legion, to be sure. But, in my sense, I remember oftentimes at state dinners, which he enjoyed thoroughly, black tie dinners, and he and Nancy could dress and converse with everyone, and at the table, when I was privileged to sit at his table, there might be a little discussion breakout that had a sharp edge to it. And he would proceed to tell about some recollection of some of the Hollywood figures of the past. And, of course, I was awe-struck, but it had the effect of completely defusing the sharp edges of the conversation.
WOODRUFF: Dick Thornburgh, with one of many, many memories coming forward, as we prepare to observe the state funeral of Ronald Reagan. Very good to see you. Thanks so much for coming by.
THORNBURGH: Thank you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.
Still to come on INSIDE POLITICS, in the days following his death, there has been a rush to honor Ronald Reagan. Ahead, we're going to hear about some of the ideas, including changing some of the nation's currency.
Plus, our Bill Schneider looks back at the Reagan era and the coalition that helped send him to the Oval Office.
And we'll hear from Reagan family friend, Merv Griffin.
Stay with us.
WOODRUFF: Suggestions on ways to pay tribute to the late President Reagan are growing. California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a speechwriter in the Reagan White House, wants to put Reagan on the $20 bill, replacing Democrat Andrew Jackson. That idea joins an earlier suggestion to put Reagan's face on the dime, replacing Franklin Roosevelt. And Kentucky senator, Mitch McConnell, says that he's going to continue to try to get the former president on the $10 bill, instead of one-time Treasury Secretary, Republican Alexander Hamilton.
A non-money renaming has already been announced. Illinois Democratic governor, Rod Blagojevich says Interstate 88, running from the suburbs of Chicago to the Iowa state line, will be renamed the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway. I-88 passes near Dixon, Illinois, which was Reagan's boyhood home town.
Ronald Reagan's election heralded a change in America, moving the body politic to the right. He tapped into a sense of dissatisfaction among many voters. Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, looks at the coalition that carried Reagan to power.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan created a powerful new coalition in America just like Franklin Roosevelt did in the 1930s, with one big difference. FDR's coalition brought together immigrants, minorities, poor people, seniors, union members, big city machines, groups that wanted something from the federal government: security, protection, benefits. The Reagan coalition is the mirror image of the Roosevelt coalition. Reagan brought together groups that shared a grievance with the federal government, like middle class suburban voters. Their grievance? Taxes.
Reagan tame to power on the heels of Proposition 13 and a nationwide tax revolt. He promised and delivered lower federal taxes.
Reagan's coalition included business voters. Their issue? Deregulation, a federal government that was less controlling and intrusive.
Reagan reached out to religious right voters who felt threatened by federal court rulings on school prayer and abortion and gay rights and pornography. Reagan abhorred racism, but his coalition included white backlash voters who resented affirmative action and saw the federal government as protecting and advancing minority interests at their expense.
The Reagan coalition included one group that wanted to expand government power abroad. Neo-conservative intellectuals, like Jean Kirkpatrick and Irving Kristol, many of them former Democrats who liked Reagan's staunch anti-communism and wanted to project American power in the world.
FDR's coalition dominated American politics for almost 50 years. Reagan's coalition has dominated politics for nearly 25 years. So far.
Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: Connecting Ronald Reagan to this year's battle for the White House. Up next, how President Bush and Senator John Kerry are borrowing from Reagan's playbook.
WOODRUFF: We're getting close to about an hour away from Ronald Reagan's body arriving here in Washington, where formal ceremonies begin.
When Ronald Reagan left office after two terms in the White House, he left with one of the highest approval ratings for a departing president. On average, six polls taken in January 1989 show Reagan with a rating of 64.5 percent. The highest approval rating for a departing president was Bill Clinton, 66 percent, when he left three years ago.
Before his death on Saturday, Ronald Reagan's name was rarely heard on this year's campaign trial. But it is not hard to find Reagan's catchwords and phrases in the speeches of President Bush and Senator John Kerry. That's what our national correspondent, Kelly Wallace, found out.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ronald Reagan's optimism about the country and its future one of the central themes (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
REAGAN: Four years ago, we raised a banner of bold colors, no pale pastels. We proclaimed a dream of a America that would be a shining city on a hill.
WALLACE: Listen to President Bush...
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm optimistic about America because I believe in the people of America.
WALLACE: ... and presumptive Democratic nominee, John Kerry.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're a country of optimists. We're the can-do people.
WALLACE: ... and you will hear two men, in their own way, trying to recapture Reagan's sunny outlook sumed up in one of his most famous ads.
REAGAN: It's morning again in America.
WALLACE: The task, a major challenge, with fears of terrorism in a post-September 11 world. And here is where you see in campaign '04 another Reagan theme.
REAGAN: The American uniform is once again worn with pride.
WALLACE: Keeping the peace by strengthening the U.S. military. President Bush his in war on terror...
BUSH: September 11, 2001, taught a lesson I will never forget: America must confront threats before they fully materialize.
WALLACE: And Kerry, the Vietnam veteran, trying to counter Mr. Bush on national security.
KERRY: Our soldiers are stretched too thin. The administration's answer has been to put a Bandaid on the problem.
WALLACE: While the two men have borrowed themes from the 40th president, they have not often mentioned his name on the stump. When they do, you hear talk of the Reagan tax cuts...
BUSH: With the largest tax relief since Ronald Reagan was the president, we've left more money in the hands that earned it.
WALLACE: ... and Kerry's role in the Senate investigation of the Iran Contra affair.
KERRY: So I stood up to Richard Nixon and the war in Vietnam. Then I stood up as a senator to Ronald Reagan and his illegal war in Central America and to Oliver North and his private network. WALLACE: But following President Reagan's death, Kerry joined President Bush inhaling Mr. Reagan's leadership and his optimism. The question now is how much both men might try to invoke the Reagan legacy in the months ahead.
WALLACE: And even before that question is answered, both men have been trying hard to demonstrate some of the qualities that led the country to embrace Ronald Reagan more than two decades ago -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Kelly Wallace, thank you very much for that close look at those speeches. We appreciate it.
Taking a look now at our "Campaign News Daily," Senator John Kerry is among the elected officials who visited the Reagan Library in California to pay their respects to the former president. Kerry, who was already scheduled to be in Los Angeles, stopped by the library yesterday afternoon.
During his flight to California, Kerry told reporters that he had met with Reagan more than he's been able to meet with President Bush. He described Reagan as, "a very likable guy."
New Mexico's Democratic governor, Bill Richardson, also was part of the viewing at the Reagan Library. Richardson, of course, is often mentioned as a possible running mate for Senator Kerry this fall.
Republican Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts also attended the public viewing. Romney has declared Friday a state holiday in Massachusetts in honor of Ronald Reagan.
A final farewell to the nation's 40th president. Up next, behind the scenes as the nation's capital gets ready for Ronald Reagan's state funeral.
ANNOUNCER: Honoring Ronald Reagan. We're one hour away from the start of state funeral ceremonies in the nation's capital.
A simple yet solemn goodbye. The long journey to Washington began in California, where Reagan will be buried Friday.
Reflecting on an American legend.
MERV GRIFFIN, FRIEND OF REAGAN: John Wayne had it, too, you know. He was a man of the Middle West. They were men of the earth.
ANNOUNCER: We'll speak with those who were close to our 40th president.
Now, "Remembering Ronald Reagan," a special edition of JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back. Preparations are all but complete here in Washington for the nation's first state funeral in more than three decades. The body of former presidential Ronald Reagan is expected to arrive outside Washington by plane just about one hour from now.
After a funeral procession, the former president's casket will be placed in the Capitol Rotunda. He will be the 10th president to be so honored. Tonight, members of the public gathering throughout this day will be allowed to view the president's casket.
CNN's Bruce Morton has more on the events of the next several hours.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The big jet will land at Andrews Air Force Base in suburban Maryland about 5 p.m. Eastern time. They off-load the casket into a hearse. Mrs Reagan and her party will board and they head for Washington about 5:20.
At 16th Street and Constitution Avenue, right behind the White House where the Reagans lived for eight years, they'll stop and transfer the casket to a horse-drawn caisson.
By about 6:00, they be headed for the Capitol. Workers there have been cleaning up the catafalgue on which the casket will rest. It was first used in Abraham Lincoln's funeral.
As the caisson approaches the Capitol, the crowd will hear "Hail to the Chief," the president's song. Then a 21-gun salute with five seconds between shots. And then a flyover.
Then, they'll carry the casket up the steps. It's the West Front and it has lots of steps. And the casket empty weighs 450 pounds. So there are three nine-man teams to share the work of carrying it. They've practiced.
Inside there will be a funeral ceremony in the Rotunda. George Washington, among others, will watch from the dome. The president's head will be on the east side, the stars on the flag will be over his heart.
It's a VIP-only service, congressmen and so on and Mrs. Reagan's party, 65 to 70 people with her, they say. And there'll be three speakers, Ted Stevens of Alaska, the president pro tem of the Senate, Dennis Hastert, speaker of the house, and Vice President Richard Cheney.
The service will be short, 25 to 30 minutes. Then the family will have private time with the casket. And then,probably around 8:30 or 9 p.m., they'll open the doors and let ordinary citizens file through to pay their respects. Some of them have been waiting in line since dawn to do that.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: A lot of people already waiting in line.
Ronald Reagan's final return to Washington actually began this morning at his presidential library in California where more than 100,000 people paid their respects over the last two days. CNN's Thelma Gutierrez is standing by with more from Simi Valley. Hello again, Thelma.
THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Judy. After two days of public viewing here at the library, there was a private ceremony early this morning. It was closed to the public.
Even so, there were dozens of people down below at the entrance of the library that lined the streets waiting to catch a glimpse of the procession.
The 13-vehicle motorcade carrying family members and honorary pallbearers pulled up to the library early this morning. Nancy Reagan and the president's three children accompanied her along with their spouses and children.
After a few moments inside the library, the precession returned outside. Eight armed forces members carried the sold mahogany, flag- draped coffin to the hearse as the band played "America the Beautiful." The family stood near the hearse as the coffin was placed inside.
They returned to their cars to begin a 25-mile drive to Point Mugu Naval Air Station where there was a simple departure ceremony. And then the former president's body was placed aboard a presidential aircraft, a 747, to be flown to the nation's capital.
And now we are looking at live pictures from a makeshift memorial at the entrance to the library. We will be doing that shortly. There it is. We will look at the live pictures from the makeshift memorial at the entrance.
When we first arrived on Saturday, Judy, there were just a few bouquets. And now you can see it has grown to this size with (UNINTELLIGIBLE), bouquets, cards and flags, even jelly beans. We noticed some mourners had placed flowers in boots, cowboy boots. Judy, back to you.
WOODRUFF: Thelma, thank you very much. A much bigger crowd, I think, even than the most -- you know, the smartest experts have been able to predict. The numbers exceeded all expectations. Thank you very much, Thelma.
Well President Bush is not attending today's funeral ceremony for Ronald Reagan. He is hosting the G-8 Summit at Sea Island, Georgia. Just a short while ago he welcomed a group of Middle leaders including Iraq's interim president to the meeting. The United States plans to hand over power to that new interim government on June 30. Earlier Mr. Bush called on NATO to take a bigger role in post-war Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: We believe NATO ought to be involved. We will work with our NATO friends to at least continue the role that now exists. And hopefully expand it some what. There's going to be some constraints, obviously. A lot of NATO countries are not in a position to commit any more troops, we fully understand that.
But I think NATO ought to stay involved. And I think we have a good chance of meting that done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Joining me now with his take on the G-8 Summit, on Ronald Reagan and other matters, Samuel Berger. He was the senior adviser -- or is a senior adviser to the Kerry campaign. He's also former national security adviser in the Clinton administration.
Samuel Berger, first of all, now, we have George W. Bush talking about bringing NATO troops to Iraq. This was something John Kerry had been urging him to do, but you have the president of France, Jacques Chirac, saying today he thinks it's not a good idea.
SAMUEL BERGER, SENIOR ADVISER, KERRY CAMPAIGN: I think the fact that the president is moving towards trying to build international support for this enterprise is a bit of good news, in an otherwise sad day today, Judy.
This is something that Senator Kerry and others of us have been arguing for for 18 months, that we need to empower the Iraqi people, we need to bring greater international support to the effort. If the president is now coming to that view, so much the better.
WOODRUFF: If indeed the handover works, as the Bush administration is saying they believe it will, you're now getting the international community on board, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution yesterday. Does this in effect take Iraq off the table as issue in this campaign for John Kerry?
BERGER: The real challenge is what happens on the ground. The U.N. resolution is a good development, it's a good step, at least for now, heading in the right direction on a one way street rather than wrong direction.
But the challenges are on the ground. Are we going to be able to get more troops and resources from our allies? Is there going to be a legitimate and genuine transfer of authority to Iraqis so they believe they have real ownership over their future? Is there going to be a political process that can lead to elections and constitution that provides for the kind of stability that will enable us to with draw our troops from Iraq?
So the real challenges are on the ground. The fact that the president is now coming to the view that's been expressed by Senator Kerry for 18 months in an unrelenting way is something welcome.
WOODRUFF: But my question is does this mean there's much less there for John Kerry to criticize?
BERGER: Look, we want to succeed in Iraq. I think all Americans want to succeed in Iraq. So to the extent thing go better in Iraq, if Iraq is sidelined as an issue, so much the better.
No one -- no American wants to see 15 Iraqis killed, as they were yesterday in Iraq. Continued violence. We've got to have security, we've got to have economic reconstruction and the political process.
But there's a lot of work lying in front of us. And I hope that the rhetorical changes that we've seen in the last few days now really translate to changes on the ground.
WOODRUFF: Last question, Samuel Berger. As someone who's a student of foreign policy, how did Ronald Reagan change America's role in the world?
BERGER: I think he came along at a time when Americans really appreciated and relished his optimism, spirit of confidence. In many ways he embodied what Americans -- he was a mirror that we held up to ourselves, and he embodied that spirit of confidence and optimism and the desire of American leadership.
There were plenty of issues on which I disagreed with him. But I don't think there's anybody who questions today that he made Americans feel confident about the future.
WOODRUFF: You live in Washington. What are you thinking as you watch these services?
BERGER: I think the outpouring is quite extraordinary and says a good deal about the impact President Reagan had on the American people. Obviously, a very deep and abiding one. It says Washington rises to the occasion when ceremonies like this, sad as they are, take place. And I think it says, most importantly that the American people appreciate leadership.
WOODRUFF: Samuel Berger who was national security adviser to President Bill Clinton. We thank you very much for coming by. Still ahead, how will history remember the 40th American president? We're going to hear from an historian and Reagan biographer. Also, a former White House social secretary looks back at the glamorous side of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. And close Reagan family friend entertainer Merv Griffin shares his thoughts on the former president.
WOODRUFF: Someone who knew the Reagans from a very different perspective was their social secretary. Social secretary to Nancy Reagan while they were in the White House. She is Gahl Burt. She joined the White House staff in 1983. Gahl Burt, good to see you.
GAHL BURT, FMR. NANCY REAGAN SOCIAL SECRETARY: Good to see you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: First of all, and I know you're leaving shortly to go to the state funeral at the Capitol, I want to ask you, how much did the Reagans really like the city of Washington? In a way, this city represented, it does represent the federal government. That was something Ronald Reagan had criticized for many years.
BURT: It did, but, you know, they made a lot of friends here in Washington, personal friends who have remained personal friends with them over the last 20 years since they left. They didn't know many people when they came here. But they set about to get to know this town and to like this town. Of course, Washington is multifaceted and complex but they rolled with it and they had friends in the media, as you know and Kay Graham was one of Mrs. Reagan's best friends and they remained that way until Mrs. Graham's death several years ago.
WOODRUFF: Of course, the late chairman of the "Washington Post" company, formerly publisher of the "Washington Post." Who else would you say were among the friends, the people they liked to spend time with in this city?
BURT: They had some very close friends. Their cabinet was very close to them. A lot of them had come from California, but others, like Malcolm Baldridge, Cap Weinberger, George Shultz, they really enjoyed spending time with them. They loved having people up to Camp David. They loved having people come up for the weekend to Camp David and watch movies with them and just to unwind. And 20 years is a long time. A lot of these people are here and not here. But they did eight years, allows you to put some real roots down and they did in this city.
WOODRUFF: Gahl Burt, we are just about to go to some comments at Sea Island. Very quickly, a final last few seconds of comments about Nancy Reagan's relationship with her husband?
BURT: Well, it was -- his faults were her strengths and vice versa. They were almost two halves that made one whole. And they were -- they complimented each other.
WOODRUFF: Gahl Burt, we will have to leave it there. We thank you so much for taking the time to come over. We now have some video of President Bush's comments in Sea Island with the Iraqi interim president.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. President, thank you for being here.
This has been a special day for me and those of us in my administration who are here, because I really never thought I'd be sitting next to an Iraqi president of a free country a year and half ago. And here you are. Not only are you here to visit with me, and we've had a wonderful talk, but you're here to talk to the leadership of the G-8, leaders of the free world.
And I am so grateful you are here. Please convey my best wishes to your prime minister as well.
Yesterday, the United Nations sent a clear message that the world supports a free Iraq. And the United States supports a transfer of full sovereignty to you, Mr. President, and your government.
And having visited with you, having talked to you and having listened to you, I have got great faith in the future of your country, because you believe in the hopes and aspirations of the Iraqi people.
It's been a proud day for me. I'm glad you're here.
GHAZI AL-YAWER, IRAQI INTERIM PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
First of all, I'd like to, on behalf of the Iraqi people, thank you for giving us this chance to attend the G-8 summit, where, again, thanks to the American people and the leadership of President George Bush, without which we couldn't have been here at the G-8.
Mr. President, I'd like to express to you the commitment of the Iraqi people to move toward democracy.
AL-YAWER: We are moving in steady steps toward it. We're determined to have a free, democratic, federal Iraq, a country that is a source of stability to the Middle East, which is very important for the rest of the world.
Again, Mr. President, I'd like to thank the American people for the sacrifices that the brave men and women of the United States endured trying to liberate Iraq. We're working with all our hearts to make sure that all these sacrifices of the Iraqis as well as our friends in the coalition will not be to no avail, that all these will be to the benefit of the Iraqi government.
Thank you very much.
BUSH: Thank you all.
WOODRUFF: The interim president of Iraq Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar thanking President Bush and the American people for the sacrifice in the country and telling the president they have the commitment of the Iraqi people to democracy. Well, in the days since President Reagan died, Americans have been looking back at his life and his career. Coming up, a look at the Reagan legacy and the former president's place in history.
WOODRUFF: With me now, historian, Robert Dallek, who has written a biography of Ronald Reagan on this day we remember the nation's 40th president. What about these state funeral like the one we're going to see today? How many have there been, how are they special? ROBERT DALLEK, CNN ANALYST: They are special, Judy, and there have only been ten presidential state funerals. Many presidents didn't want them. Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Truman never had state funerals. There have been four state funerals for assassinated presidents. Abraham Lincoln and McKinley, and, of course, John Kennedy, James Garfield in the 19th century. I think it was very important to the nation to have that experience because there was a lot of grief, a lot of mourning, some feeling of hurt over the fact that a president had been -- his life had been taken.
But there were six others now, including Reagan, who had these state funerals, including Warren G. Harding, Taft, Dwight Eisenhower, most recently, of course, Lyndon Johnson, and so it's a moment when the nation, in a sense, comes together. It's full of symbolism about the American experience, about what it means, I think, to be an American. I think this is particularly true now with this Ronald Reagan funeral.
WOODRUFF: Particularly, in the more casual era that we live in. How do you explain what appears to be a cross section of an outpouring for Ronald Reagan? He clearly was very conservative in his political views. In some ways divisive although some would say not as divisive as this current president has been? How do you explain the current outpouring?
DALLEK: I think a lot of it goes to this point, that the current administration has been divisive. There's been so many sour notes about our politics over the last several years and I think there's not so much a sense of grieving over Reagan currently, although, of course, there's always grief when a president dies, but I think he's inspirited the country, I think people are reaching back to his administration and feelings he generated of shared purpose, shared values, morning in America, the pride is back and I think this is what animates people on both sides of the aisle be they Democrats, Republicans, Independents. I think they are drawn to his memory as a way to have a kind of shared feeling about this country.
WOODRUFF: I don't know how much you've given thought to this. How uniquely American is something like what we're going to witness today and over the next few days.
DALLEK: There are state funerals in other countries. But I think it is very much an American experience, American kind of tradition you have. The flag is so much in evidence, the horseless rider, planes flying over and of course, television now. This, of course, goes back to John Kennedy, and the fact the nation can share the whole experience in a way it never could when Franklin Roosevelt died, of course, they had radio but television has been instrumental in creating a kind of shared the memory and shared current experience. It is very much, I think, a kind of American experience.
WOODRUFF: You're going to be watching, I'm assuming, over these next few days?
DALLEK: I will indeed.
WOODRUFF: Robert Dallek, historian and biographer of Ronald Reagan. Thank you for coming by. We appreciate it.
DALLEK: My pleasure, Judy.
WOODRUFF: He is close to the Reagan family and he's offering his comfort during their time of grief. Coming up, we'll hear from entertainer Merv Griffin and what he had to say a year ago about his close friend, Ronald Reagan.
WOODRUFF: A short time from now, Ronald Reagan's body will arrive here at the United States Capitol. 200,000 mourners, perhaps more expected to file past the casket to pay their respects as Reagan's body lies in state. As the Reagan's family mourns, they do have close friends to lean on, among them, entertainer Merv Griffin, chosen as an honorary pallbearer. He shared with me some of his thoughts on Ronald Reagan in an interview I did with him last summer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERV GRIFFIN, ENTERTAINER AND FAMILY FRIEND: He kept that kind of Jimmy Stewart -- even though Jimmy was Midwestern -- but that wonderful Midwestern attitude. John Wayne had it, too, you know, he was a man of the middle west, even though his name was Marion (ph), which we used to kid him about, a lot. There was an earthiness, they were men of the earth and they all gravitated to the Republican party. They were very patriotic and loved America and loved the flag.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Entertainer Merv Griffin, a close friend of Nancy Reagan and Ronald Reagan, chosen as one of the five honorary pallbearers. That's it for this special edition of INSIDE POLITICS, I'm Judy Woodruff. I'll be here reporting live from the Capitol throughout the rest of this afternoon and into evening. CNN's SPECIAL REPORT of the state funeral of president Ronald Reagan starts right now.
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