Happy Birthday President Reagan.

A Salute to the Gipper
[This was a piece done in 2006 at http://mikesamerica.blogspot.com/, I copied it in its entirety so please direct any and all compliments to Mike!]

It must be the dream of every political junkie to work in the White House for a president they respect and it was doubly so for me when I joined the Reagan White House Political Office during the presidential election season of 1988.

Our primary goal was to make sure that George H. Bush and other Republicans would be elected to carry forward the great work that President Reagan had achieved the last eight years.

The days started at 8 a.m. with a meeting of the political staff to discuss the president's election activity across the country. One of my jobs was to develop letters of support for candidates the president particularly endorsed, have the president sign them and allow the candidate to use them to demonstrate his credentials as part of "the Reagan Revolution" to the voters in his state or district.

Karl Rove, President Bush's political adviser, was among those I worked with as he conducted a congressional campaign in Texas.

There were many long hours and very detail-oriented work. One thing I picked up quickly is that at the White House you had to do it right and you had to do it right now. There was no time for mistakes or dithering.

Later, when I moved to the Environmental Protection Agency, I learned a new work ethic, one more politically correct. At EPA, it was thought too harsh to say what was right lest you offend someone and, frankly, you were discouraged from getting anything done too quickly which might discomfit your coworkers.

When I wasn't over occupied with work duties during that busy time, I was encouraged to attend many of the public events at the White House.

Staff and guests would be welcome to assemble on the White House lawn and watch as Marine One, the president's helicopter, took him on a trip. We would stand and wave while the nearby press, mostly Sam Donaldson of ABC, would shout questions at the president.

Larger ceremonies, such as the one to congratulate our 1988 Olympic team, were also frequent.

Street vendors in Washington used to pose tourists with a life-size cardboard photo of the president as a souvenir. In a lighter moment, Sen. Bob Dole, hosting a presidential event at a nearby hotel, brought along a cardboard Reagan and our staff had fun posing with the senator and the cardboard president.

Later, as I had a photograph taken with the real McCoy, I joked to the president, "I hope this comes out better than the one with the cardboard cutout." He laughed. But that wasn't surprising. His good humor was legendary and nearly every photograph taken of him over the years shows him laughing or smiling.
The Last State Visit with Margaret Thatcher

An event with deeper inter- national and political signif- icance was the final state visit of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to the White House on Nov. 16, 1988. As the flags of the United Kingdom and the United States flew proudly from the lampposts up and down Pennsylvania Avenue, military bands and honor guards assembled to welcome one of America's greatest friends. But there was more to the arrival of Mrs. Thatcher than the pomp and ceremony of a state visit. Her friendship and partnership with President Reagan was nothing short of a political love story. The affection and respect these two historic figures held for each other was palpable in person. In the photograph I took on that occasion, you clearly see the admiration in the eyes of the president and the warmth of Mrs. Thatcher. It was a rare moment which crystallized for me the goodness of the man and the strength of personal friendship he had with one of America's greatest friends.
President Reagan visits Bowling Green, Ohio,
October 19, 1988. Speech here.
Check out the full size photo here.
Perhaps the most important personal accomplishment for me was the political trip I coordinated for the president's visit to my hometown, Bowling Green, Ohio.

Always a key state for Republicans, it was a thrill and an honor to return home to coordinate the details, invite guests and VIP's and make suggestions for the speech Mr. Reagan would deliver.

The morning after the presidential election, President Reagan summoned the White House staff into the Rose Garden to say "thank you" for all the hard work and long hours we had put in to assure the election of his successor, George H.W. Bush.

It had been a long night in the Political Office as we tabulated the results and fed them to senior White House staff. That morning, at the conclusion of his remarks, I recalled that days before he had asked us to "win one more for the Gipper," referring to his favorite movie role as legendary football player George Gipp.

As the president turned toward the Oval Office I had a Sam Donaldson moment and blurted out, "That was one for the Gipper."He turned and came back to the microphone and proceeded to regale us all with another of those classic Gipper stories that he was so famous for.
Waving Goodbye Over U.S. Capitol After Bush '41' Swearing In
full size image here White House Photo
I said goodbye to Ronald Reagan as I stood on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol just after President Bush was sworn in as his successor.The helicopter bearing Ron and Nancy Reagan rose above the Capitol plaza and stately trees. As the helicopter circled directly above me, I stood beneath the trees on the lawn of the Capitol, saluted and reflected on the courage, decency and honor of this great man and all he accomplished. I do so again. Thank you, Mr. President, and God bless you.

Thanks Mike (
http://mikesamerica.blogspot.com/) for a wonderful story with up-beat and helpful messages on the success of a good man! Sadly there are people out there that as much as they wish to tout a bipartisan, or simply "helpful" message they fall back to a destructive nature and obviously false conclusion.