‘She touched the heart of a nation:’ Tributes pour in for Nancy Reagan

BY and  

Nancy and Ronald Reagan set sail aboard a boat in California in 1964. Photo courtesy of Reagan Presidential Library/U.S. National Archives

On Sunday, California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered state capitol flags to be flown at half-staff to honor former first lady Nancy Reagan, who died at age 94 in Los Angeles.

As the news permeated the nation, condolences and reflections of Reagan poured in reflecting on her strength of spirit, love for her husband and loyalty to the country.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama escorts former first lady Nancy Reagan to a signing ceremony for the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act at the White House in Washington June 2, 2009. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President Obama escorts the former first lady to a signing ceremony for the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act at the White House on June 2, 2009. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

“Nancy Reagan once wrote that nothing could prepare you for living in the White House. She was right, of course. But we had a head start, because we were fortunate to benefit from her proud example, and her warm and generous advice. Our former First Lady redefined the role in her time here.

Later, in her long goodbye with President Reagan, she became a voice on behalf of millions of families going through the depleting, aching reality of Alzheimer’s, and took on a new role, as advocate, on behalf of treatments that hold the potential and the promise to improve and save lives.

We offer our sincere condolences to their children, Patti, Ron, and Michael, and to their grandchildren. And we remain grateful for Nancy Reagan’s life, thankful for her guidance, and prayerful that she and her beloved husband are together again.”

Former First Lady Barbara Bush

“Nancy Reagan was totally devoted to President Reagan, and we take comfort that they will be reunited once more. George and I send our prayers and condolences to her family.”

Former President George W. Bush 

BEL AIR, UNITED STATES: US President George W. Bush and Nancy Reagan share some private time together as the President and First Lady Laura Bush stopped by to pay their respects to Mrs. Reagan 12 August, 2004, at her home in Bel Air, California AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Former President Bush and Reagan share some private time together at her home in Bel Air, California. Photo by Paul J. Richards/Getty Images

“Laura and I are saddened by the loss of former first lady Nancy Reagan. Mrs. Reagan was fiercely loyal to her beloved husband, and that devotion was matched only by her devotion to our country. Her influence on the White House was complete and lasting. During her time as first lady and since, she raised awareness about drug abuse and breast cancer.

When we moved into the White House, we benefited from her work to make those historic rooms beautiful. Laura and I are grateful for the life of Nancy Reagan, and we send our condolences to the entire Reagan family.”

Former President Bill Clinton

President Clinton waves with Reagan at a dedication ceremony of the new Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in May 2005 in Washington. Photo by Stephen Jaffe/Getty Images.

President Clinton waves with Reagan at a dedication ceremony of the new Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in May 2005 in Washington. Photo by Stephen Jaffe/Getty Images.

“Hillary and I were deeply saddened to learn of Nancy Reagan’s passing. Nancy was an extraordinary woman: a gracious First Lady, proud mother, and devoted wife to President Reagan—her Ronnie. Her strength of character was legendary, particularly when tested by the attempted assassination of the President, and throughout his battle with Alzheimer’s.

She leaves a remarkable legacy of good that includes her tireless advocacy for Alzheimer’s research and the Foster Grandparent Program. We join all Americans in extending our prayers and condolences to her beloved children and her entire family during this difficult time.”

Michael Reagan, stepson

Former President Jimmy Carter

“President Reagan has been reunited with his wife and partner but America and the Reagan family have lost a woman of grace and strength. I join people from around the country and the world in sending them our best thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. A woman of strength and wit, Nancy Reagan’s dedication to our country was matched only by that of her husband. Theirs was one of our nation’s great love stories and a model of shared devotion to our country. America is stronger and better for their service.”

Ted Cruz

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus

“Nancy Reagan embodied what it means to represent America as First Lady and her dignified and warm demeanor inspired America. Mrs. Reagan will go down in history as a woman who left her own mark on the White House and our country. She was a longtime friend and supporter of many in our party, and will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Reagan family and all those who she so deeply touched over the years.”

Chelsea Clinton

Democratic National Committee

“As we celebrate her life and legacy as a partner, confidant and advisor to President Reagan, and as a leader and philanthropist in her own right, we should also honor her passing by reflecting on the progress we can make when our elected officials work together across the aisle, as the Reagan administration did on issues ranging from immigration to nuclear arms control, making our people more prosperous and our nation more secure.”


Sen. Chuck Schumer

“You didn’t have to be a Reagan Republican to admire and respect Nancy Reagan. She was a tower of strength alongside her husband, had strong beliefs, and was not afraid to chart her own course politically. She persuaded her husband to support the Brady Law, and their advocacy was instrumental in helping us pass it.”

Mitt Romney

Reagan poses with Mitt Romney before the start of the Ronald Reagan Centennial GOP Presidential Primary Candidates Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on September 7, 2011 in Simi Valley, California. The debate is sponsored by POLITICO and NBC News. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

“With the passing of Nancy Reagan, we say a final goodbye to the days of Ronald Reagan. With charm, grace, and a passion for America, this couple reminded us of the greatness and the endurance of the American experiment.

Some underestimate the influence of a First Lady but from Martha and Abigail through Nancy and beyond, these women have shaped policy, strengthened resolve, and drawn on our better angels. God and Ronnie have finally welcomed a choice soul home.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy