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At His Side
Remembering Reagan.


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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article appears in the June 28, 2004, issue of National Review.

One day, during the height of the furor over the Iran-Contra matter, I was alone with President Reagan, and I decided to ask him about it in a way I hadn’t before.

Having worked with him for nearly three decades, I felt I was as close personally to the president as anyone besides Nancy. And I could sense some strain. It bothered him tremendously that people had used the events to impugn his credibility. It bothered him, too, that he had to dismiss those involved. Ronald Reagan hated to fire anyone. And it bothered him that all of this seemed to be holding back the country.

So I finally said to him, “I hope this isn’t getting you down.” “Don’t be concerned, Ed,” he replied. “Nancy worries enough for both of us.”

This was Ronald Reagan in a nutshell. Disarming yet strong, and always concerned about the well-being of others. More importantly, it demonstrated a characteristic shared by truly great leaders–he could see over the next hill. He knew the storm would pass and things would get better. This was part of the genius of our 40th president.

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