As the 1984 election approached, many voters voiced their concerned with Reagan's age. At 73, he was already the oldest President in history.
Narrator: The meeting helped defuse one of Mondale's campaign issues. But a few days later Reagan's age - 73 - became an issue. In his first television debate he seemed confused.
Reagan (archival): We have. Our military. The morale is high. The, I think, the people should understand that two-thirds of the defense budget pays for pay and salary. Or pay and pension.
Narrator: Nancy blamed Reagan's staff and wanted to fire Richard Darman who she felt had swamped Reagan with too many facts.
Henry Trewhitt, Baltimore Sun (archival): You already are the oldest President in history. And some of your staff say you were tired after your most recent encounter with Mr. Mondale.
I recall yet that President Kennedy had to go for days on end with very little sleep during the Cuban missile crisis. Is there any doubt in your mind that you would be able to function in such circumstances?
Reagan (archival): Not at all, Mr. Trewhitt. And I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience.
Narrator: The age issue would not go away. But Reagan routed Walter Mondale with 59% of the vote. "We can read," Tip O'Neill would later tell him. "In my 50 years in public life, I've never seen a man more popular than you with the American people."
Meet the Wizard of Odd. Robert Ripley was a new media star and the most popular man in America.
A biography of the 41st U.S. president, from his service in World War II to his days in the Oval Office. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
The acquittal of the murderers of Chicago teen Emmett Till mobilized the civil rights movement.
The story of Native peoples’ valiant resistance to expulsion from their lands and the extinction of their culture.
In 1897, Arctic explorer Robert Peary caused a sensation when he returned from Greenland with five Eskimos.
General Douglas MacArthur led American troops in World Wars I and II before being fired by President Harry Truman during the Korean War.
The Alabama governor and presidential candidate promised segregation forever.
His stunning triumph at the 1936 Olympic Games captivated the world even as it infuriated the Nazis. Premiering May 1.