A couple of years ago, I read a collection of recollections of Ronald Reagan by some of those who had known him. I jotted down a few notes on what was important in the collection:
Mike Wallace’s entry is a good one. He has a telling exchange with Reagan where Reagan says he is not a politician. Wallace is flabbergasted. He says to the effect: Mr. Reagan, how can you say you are not a politician when you are planning to run for the highest political office in the land?
Reagan’s response is that he’s not seeking the office for glory or self-aggrandizement; rather he’s seeking it because there’s a job that needs to get done.
In a later entry, someone (Cap Weinberger, maybe?) recounts an episode while Governor where someone warns Reagan that if he vetoes a certain bill (on teacher pay, maybe?) he will not get re-elected. Reagan’s response was: ‘I didn’t come here to get re-elected.’
Years ago I remember reading in a newspaper somewhere that an ordinary citizen saw Reagan in a park, at a time well after his announcement about having Alzheimer’s. The citizen went up to Reagan and thanked him for what he had done to preserve freedom. Reagan smiled and responded ‘that is my job.’
The book of recollections is:
Hannaford, Peter, ed. Recollections of Reagan: A Portrait of Ronald Reagan: William Morrow & Company, 1997.