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Portraits: Ronald Reagan   3 comments

This portrait is based on some thirty studies that artist Henry Casselli made of Reagan over four days at the White House in late 1988. Commissioned with the National Portrait Gallery in mind, the finished picture arrived at the White House the following January for presidential inspection. When Reagan saw it, he exclaimed, "Yep! That's the old buckaroo."

This portrait is based on some thirty studies that artist Henry Casselli made of Reagan over four days at the White House in late 1988. Commissioned with the National Portrait Gallery in mind, the finished picture arrived at the White House the following January for presidential inspection. When Reagan saw it, he exclaimed, “Yep! That’s the old buckaroo.”

Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004)

The 40th President of the United States, 1981 – 1989

AKA: Dutch, The Gipper, The Great Communicator

From: Illinois, California

College: Eureka College

Married to: Jane Wyman, Nancy Davis

Children: Maureen, Christine, Michael (adopted), Patti Davis, Ron

Party: Democratic (before 1962), Republican

Previous Jobs: Lifeguard, radio broadcaster, actor, commercial pitchman, US Army Captain, President of the Screen Actors Guild, Governor of California

In His Words: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

“I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.”

“Back in 1927, an American socialist, Norman Thomas, six times candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said that the American people would never vote for socialism but he said under the name of liberalism the American people would adopt every fragment of the socialist program.”

“It’s silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in the jungles of Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking stripes on it and still be home by Christmas.”

“A tree’s a tree. How many more do you need to look at?”

“Unemployment insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders.”

“One legislator accused me of having a nineteenth-century attitude on law and order. That is a totally false charge. I have an eighteenth-century attitude. That is when the Founding Fathers made it clear that the safety of law-abiding citizens should be one of the government’s primary concerns.”

Photo by Michael Evans, 1982

Photo by Michael Evans, 1982

“I’m convinced that today the majority of Americans want what those first Americans wanted: A better life for themselves and their children; a minimum of government authority.”

“Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”

“And I have to point out that government doesn’t tax to get the money it needs, government always needs the money it gets.”

“Thomas Jefferson made a comment about the Presidency and age. He said that one should not worry about one’s exact chronological age in reference to his ability to perform one’s task. And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.”

“The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression — to preserve freedom and peace.”

“I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I’m in a cabinet meeting.”

“I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.”

“I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

“As long as a love of liberty is emblazoned on our hearts, Jefferson lives.”

“Well I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — America’s best days are yet to come. Our proudest moments are yet to be. Our most glorious achievements are just ahead.”

Ronald Reagan, Official White House Portrait Photo, 1981

Ronald Reagan, Official White House Portrait Photo, 1981

Not true:

Reagan is an enduring symbol for the Republican Party, but he was not a supporter of today’s right wing “no gun control” goal. In fact, he favored gun control.

He famously stated, “I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon nor needed for home defense.”

He also joined former Presidents Ford and Carter in 1994, writing the US House of Representatives to urge they ban assault weapons.

True: Due to his nearsightedness, he could not serve overseas in the military during WWII. He served in the First Motion Picture Unit, which made over 400 training films during the war.

General Electric hired Reagan as its spokesman, and required he tour their plants 16 weeks per year, making up to 14 speeches per day. He hosted “General Electric Theater” on television, 1953-1962. GE paid him $125,000/year.

Reagan was the first President to have been divorced. In 1969, he signed the first “no-fault” divorce law while Governor of California. This became a national movement … and has been found to have decreased domestic violence against women as well as female suicide.

Early in his Presidency, Reagan began wearing a hearing aid. When he went public with this choice in 1983, sales of hearing aids rose nationwide.

Reagan is the only President to be shot in an assassination attempt, and survive. He told his wife, “Honey, I forgot to duck.”

Reagan increased military spending early in his Presidency, but eventually emphasized diplomacy to decrease tensions with the USSR. His policies helped end the Cold War.

He championed tax cuts, bringing down the effective tax rates to historical norms. The average tax rate during his Presidency was 18.2% of GDP, compared with an average of 18.1% 1970 – 2010.

He was the oldest man to be elected President, and the oldest President to leave office.

The Official Portrait: Everett Raymond Kinstler painted several portraits of Reagan. Seven Presidents have posed for him, and his portraits of Ford and Reagan are both the Official White House Portraits.Reagan - Kinstler

Ronald Reagan, Official White House Portrait

Reagan,-Ronald,-FINAL

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