Larry Elder

Conversation at the Ronald Reagan Library, Simi Valley, Calif., Friday, Feb. 6, 2004:

Larry Elder: Let me tell you what an honor this is. This is like meeting royalty.

Nancy Reagan: Thank you very much. Thank you.

Elder: Tell me what you consider your greatest accomplishment.

Reagan: My greatest accomplishment. Well, I think raising the awareness of the drug problem, traveling around and promoting that, and I think we did do some good.

Elder: The best part of being first lady?

Reagan: Oh, my. Well, the best part of being first lady is having the chance to travel to all the countries I never would have gone to, and meeting all the people I never would have met, and being a part of history was wonderful.

Elder: Mrs. Reagan, you were first lady for eight years. In eight years, lots of things happened. Tell me the most memorable moment you had in the White House.

Reagan: Well, that has to be March 30, 1981 -- Ronnie was shot. That's the most memorable.

Elder: And your husband's legacy. Twenty-five years from now, 50 years from now, 100 years from now, what do you think people will say about him?

Reagan: Well, I think his legacy was making the country feel good about itself again, making people feel good. There was a whole optimism that he exuded.

Elder: And is that the quality about Ron Reagan that you most admire -- his optimism?

Reagan: Well, that's one of the things that I admire. There are lots of things that I admire about him. That's one of them.

Elder: Tell us what some of the others are, his qualities.

Reagan: Oh, his kindness, his ability to be a great communicator, to communicate with people -- all kinds of people, all different ages, it didn't make any difference. He just connected with them. He was a very romantic man, as those letters he wrote show. A wise man. I could go on and on. How long have we got? (laughter)

Elder: The thing that people most misunderstand about Ron Reagan.

Reagan: Well, I don't think it's true any more, since they've published the speeches that he wrote, the letters that he wrote, but it used to be that people thought, well, he didn't know anything -- they just handed him things -- but he didn't know anything. Now, with the publication of all the speeches that he wrote, I mean, it shows that way, way back, he had his philosophy firmly in place. He knew what he was doing.

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit