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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
The Reagan Centennial
Aired February 6, 2011 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Good afternoon from the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
I'm John King. Welcome to CNN's special coverage of "The Reagan Centennial."
This is a remarkable site settled in the hills of southern California, Ronald Reagan's presidential library, where VIPs, Reagan family friends, the former first lady, Nancy Reagan, many others gathered here today on what would have been Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday.
Let me show you around the site here a little bit.
Ronald Reagan is buried on this site. It is hallowed ground for the Reagan family. The gravesite is outside. You can see that right there. It is a gorgeous day here as everyone gathers to pay tribute.
In the official program today, Nancy Reagan makes light of the fact. She writes, "Ronnie loved to celebrate his birthday, and although he would be a little embarrassed by all the attention, I know he would be thrilled to see all of you here today to help us commemorate the occasion."
We will hear from Nancy Reagan a bit later as the program gets under way. We also will hear from Jim Baker, the former White House chief of staff and secretary of state.
I'm in the Air Force One pavilion at the Reagan Presidential Library. Behind me, a Boeing 707, 27,000 is the tail number. Back when Ronald Reagan was president, this plane was in the Air Force One rotation. Several presidents used it, not just President Reagan, but the inside now has been reconstructed to as it was when Ronald Reagan took this plane on so many trips -- campaign trips in the United States, official trips in the United States, and many trips around the world. In the staff quarters on this plane, the briefing book the staff received on one of Ronald Reagan's high-profile and big issues trips to the People's Republic of China.
We'll have a remarkable more than an hour of our coverage ahead. We'll get to the official program soon.
Outside, right now, some music as part of the pre-program as the dignitaries gather out there. But let's take a few minutes to reflect on the life and the legacy of Ronald Reagan.
And with me at this moment, our senior political analysts, David Gergen and Gloria Borger.
And David, to you first, Ronald Reagan, this would have been his 100th birthday. Why is it that Ronald Reagan has such a special place not only in American history, but in our political history?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's interesting, John. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., the historian, wrote some years ago that just as there are cycles in politics, that a party rises and falls, there are cycles in reputations of presidents.
And we saw that once earlier in the 20th century, Harry Truman, who left office with a lot of public sourness, but rose in the eyes of countrymen and certainly in the eyes of historians. And now we see this with Ronald Reagan, as well, that over the years since he's left the presidency, I think it was in part because he had such an enormous influence through his conservatism and really bringing conservatism back to full flower, as Bill Bennett and I will attest, but also because of his sunny optimism about America and how he inspired people. Even if you didn't agree with him on policies, you liked him as a man, and he gave you real faith in the country's future.
KING: David, thank you for that. Stay with us.
I just want to show our audience the VIPs gathering outside before we get to Gloria Borger and more from David Gergen.
Outside, Nancy Reagan, as I told you, is here, many members of the Reagan inner circle are here -- former secretary of state George Schulz, who, of course, was with Ronald Reagan back to his days as California governor. Jim Baker I mentioned earlier. He was a George H. W. Bush loyalist who became a key member of Ronald Reagan's inner circle, then served in the Bush presidency as well, of course.
Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona among the Republican luminaries here. The former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, among the Republican luminaries here. I had a brief conversation with him just a few minutes ago.
And Gloria Borger, as we watch these people gather, jump in on where David left off, on right now in the country, there's a big debate about the size of government, the scope of government, the reach of government, taxation. "Taxed Enough Already" is the acronym of the Tea Party.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure.
KING: Ronald Reagan came to office on many of those themes.
BORGER: Yes, and I think it's a debate that Ronald Reagan would probably welcome, because it was clearly a debate that he started. And so the continuation of it would, I think, be something that he would applaud.
But what David said is something that I'd like to echo, which is this sense of optimism and he was a positive man. I mean, there was nothing negative about Ronald Reagan's politics. So, even if he disagreed with you, he would disagree in an agreeable way.
He also always found, I thought as a journalist, the right words to break through something, whether it was a complicated problem we were having on this -- in this country, or abroad. "Tear down this Wall" being the perfect example.
So he could always tell the American people what he believed very simply, and there was another reason for that. And that is he had a real set of beliefs that were his rock, and he kept coming back to them over and over and over again. So, people really believed, they understood who Ronald Reagan was, what he was about, and what he wanted to do for the country.
KING: It's a fascinating point, David Gergen. Thirty years ago, on this day, Ronald Reagan celebrated his birthday by having dinner at the White House and a beer with Tip O'Neill, the Democratic Speaker of the House.
Now, they shared a love of jokes, they shared a love of storytelling. They didn't mind a pint on occasion, as well. That is an era that we could use some lessons from that era, I guess is the best way to put it, in Washington right now.
Ronald Reagan known of course as a conservative, the face of the conservative -- Barry Goldwater's heir, and yet a president who knew how, perhaps because he had no choice -- always had a Democratic House --to reach out and do business with the other side.
GERGEN: Absolutely. And we're nostalgic for that era, especially for that Reagan/Tip O'Neill relationship, because, you know, listen, they fought like hell during the day, as you'll well remember. One was a strong conservative, the other is a strong liberal, had sharply different views. But in that era, they were also willing at 5:00 to put down their differences and lift up a glass, and share a lot of old Irish yarns, and laugh and scratch and have a good time.
And when Tip had a birthday later on in the Reagan presidency, a famous moment, Reagan gave a luncheon for him down at the White House. He brought Tip down with a lot of his friends. And after it was over, Reagan got up to give a toast and he said -- he had written out this little poem.
He said, "Tip, if I had a ticket to heaven and you didn't have one, too, well, I'd give my ticket back and go to hell with you." A very different era.
BORGER: You know, John, I grew up covering politics as a baby on the Hill, covering Tip O'Neill. So I saw the Reagan revolution much more from the Hill vantage point. And I think that the dealings between those two men really trickled down to the politicians who served --
KING: You see Nancy Reagan. Let me interrupt for one second, Gloria. Gloria, sorry to interrupt.
KING: I just need to interrupt for one second there.
We have a picture there. You see Nancy Reagan, the former first lady, with a member of the United States Marine Corps standing outside, waiting for the ceremony to begin.
It is a beautiful day at a beautiful place. And Mrs. Reagan has worked tirelessly over the years since her husband's passing and since he left the White House, when he was still alive, to make this, as she writes, a living legacy to his presidency. So this is a very important day for her, as well.
And she very rarely speaks publicly now, so we will hear from Nancy Reagan in a little bit, as we watch her reflecting outside there, listening the music program.
I want to also bring into the conversation -- again, Gloria, I apologize for interrupting -- a man who was on the receiving end of many of the stories and many of the jokes, the former education secretary and drug czar, Bill Bennett.
Bill, when you look at this day and when you look at the president's partner right here, Nancy Reagan, reflect for us.
BILL BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR : Well, first of all, his birthday is a great day. He used to call each of us on our birthday. I remember I always got a call from the president.
I'm not a member of the old guard, the California guard. I was with the new guard who came in. I was a Democrat. And he brought in a lot of us -- Jeane Kirkpatrick, myself, many other people. And again, that embrace.
I don't know what David and Gloria are talking about, this era of good feeling. I was in the cabinet, and I remember taking a lot of shells.
BENNETT: I remember Ronald Reagan -- was it made up that he was called an amiable dunce and that he was a dumb actor --
BENNETT: -- and that he was a cowboy gunslinger and all that stuff?
BORGER: Ice in his veins, yes.
BENNETT: Yes. I mean, It was pretty tough going. And people way underestimated Ronald Reagan.
All this stuff was said about him early on, and now I see "TIME" magazine wants to put Barack Obama with Ronald Reagan. So people want to be associated with him.
He did, of course, have that humor which was so disarming. But he could be tough, but it was tough with Irish charm. Remember Sam Donaldson, John, asked him, "Don't you take any blame for this problem?" And he said, "Oh, yes, I take a lot of blame. I was a Democrat for 30 years."
BENNETT: You know, it was typical Reagan. I mean, he had the edge. He had the point. But he did it in tremendous good will, and that embrace was large.
KING: Go ahead, David.
GERGEN: That edge that Bill Bennett is talking about, Peggy Noonan brought that up yesterday. She recalled a story Reagan used to tell about somebody walked up to a husband and said, "I'm so sorry that your wife ran off with your gardener." And he said, "Oh, it doesn't matter. I was going to fire him anyway."
BORGER: No, but I --
KING: I'm going to ask all of you guys to stand by for one second. David and Gloria and Bill, hold on one second.
We'll be right back with all of our special coverage here. We're at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. It is a spectacular day. The official program just getting under way.
Maybe you loved Ronald Reagan's politics, maybe you didn't. He is a special figure in our history. This is a special day at the library in his honor.
Stay with us. CNN special coverage continues in just a moment.
KING: Nancy Reagan there, the former first lady of the United States, Ronald Reagan's partner throughout his days in politics and the presidency, waiting to take her part in "The Reagan Centennial," the 100th birthday celebration of Ronald Reagan here at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
I'm John King. Welcome back to our special coverage of "The Reagan Centennial," as we watch Mrs. Reagan there with a member of the United States Marine Corps who will escort her to the stage. She will speak shortly, and we'll certainly bring you that and other highlights of the program, here today.
And as we bring you the program, we're also visiting with our analysts to talk about the life and the legacy of Ronald Reagan.
Joining me at the moment, David Gergen, our senior political analyst. Gloria Borger as well. And Bill Bennett, a member of the Reagan cabinet.
We were talking a bit before the break about some of the domestic issues. I want to talk for a second -- just about 40 yards to my left is a mockup of Checkpoint Charlie, David Gergen. And it has both the West and the East side. And there's a piece of the Berlin Wall there.
The Wall fell, of course, after Ronald Reagan left office during the George H. W. Bush presidency, but there are quotations over there from Soviet leaders saying, "Communism will win." And, of course, there is the trademark Reagan line, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall."
A young generation of Americans has no memory of that.
GERGEN: That's right. I think that Ronald Reagan gets far less credit than he deserved for helping to bring the Cold War to a successful conclusion without a real war. Mikhail Gorbachev, in the eyes of the historians, was the moving party behind the end of communism, the end of the Soviet Union. And it's true, Mikhail Gorbachev played an enormous role.
But Reagan was also a catalyst. And he took a lot of heat from the left and the right during his presidency because he was a man who wanted to build up our defenses. And that's when he took a lot of heat from the left. But then he wanted to do that in order to negotiate with the Soviets, in order to get them to disarm and tear down that wall. And he got some heat from the right as he did that.
But I think in the end, history will judge that while he hasn't got enough credit, that his foreign policy was one of his real striking successes as president.
KING: I'm going to ask everybody to stand by a minute. I just want to celebrate. Let's join the celebration outside and just listen for a minute.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On guard! Present arms!
KING: The National Anthem performed there by Michael Smith. You see the Honor Guard on the stage, as well. The official ceremony getting under way here at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Former senator Jack Danforth about to deliver the invocation.
We'll take a quick break. We'll be back with our special coverage in just a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, for future generations, do you want to be remembered as Ronald Reagan the actor, or Ronald Reagan, president of the United States? RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll take this one. Yes, I would like to be remembered for this.
Oh, I made some pictures that I was proud of. I also made some that I hope will never show up on "The Late Late Show."
The studio didn't want them good. It wanted them Thursday. So, no, I would like to -- I would hope that I've accomplished something for which I would be remembered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That's Ronald Reagan back in 1984, making a joke, trademark Ronald Reagan there, making light of his acting career. He made some good ones, he made some not so good ones.
Bill Bennett, you know, a lot of people thought Ronald Reagan, the actor, he's not serious. He can't be a serious candidate for governor. No way can he be a serious candidate for president. But his sense of humor -- and he used that to his advantage when people questioned his intelligence, questioned his seriousness. He almost always turned it on them.
BENNETT: Robert Louis Stevenson has an essay about the world's great men, and he says you notice about the world's really great men a certain geniality, a certain easiness of person. The second-raters have to try to impress you, but the first-raters don't have to.
He was comfortable in his own skin. He had that common touch, but he knew what he wanted. There were two things he wanted.
He wanted to take down the evil empire, the Soviet Union, communism. He said we will beat them, we will take them down. And he wanted to restore America to a sense of itself. And I would say he was preeminent, first and foremost, in that task of taking down the communist empire.
BENNETT: And, yes, Gorbachev's a guy you could work with, as Thatcher said, but don't forget his partner is Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul, fabulous and interesting collaboration.
Let's take a peek outside. Let's just take a peek outside for a second.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- a tribute to his distinguished service to a grateful nation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honor Guard, present arms! Honor Guard!
KING: A 21-gun salute there in honor of Ronald Wilson Reagan on what would have been his 100th birthday.
You're watching live pictures of "The Reagan Centennial" celebration at the Reagan Library. His former chief of staff, Jim Baker, former secretary of state Jim Baker there, along with Nancy Reagan. You see her in the red front of your picture.
There are some still photos there of Ronald Reagan. This is on a Boeing 707 that was in the Air Force One rotation during the Reagan presidency. You see a look back through the plane there.
The communications cabin to your right there, where the Air Force officers could be in touch with the Pentagon, the Situation Room in Washington, D.C. Behind that, a little velvet rope. Ahead of you, that's the president's cabin there.
That blue jacket you see, you see the sleeve of it, just right there with the writing on it, the white writing. Ronald Reagan's Air Force jacket, the one he wore when he flew Air Force One. Air Force One, of course, the designation any time the president of the United States is aboard any plane. But the big Boeing 707s were still in rotation back in the day.
Again, that was how you had secure communication. The new 747 is a bit more modern than that, but the 707, still an amazing plane in its own right. President Reagan, President Bush, President Clinton all flew on these 707s.
You see that glimpse right there. A bit of history here at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
They have fixed the insides of the plane just as it was back during the Reagan presidency. And again, you're looking right there at the president's cabin. There's a cabin right behind that which was by the first lady. Behind that, a staff cabin. Behind that, the Secret Service cabin. In the back of the plane, a little press area where some Air Force people would sit as well.
And now you see that plane behind me, an old Boeing 707, officially on loan here by the Air Force to the Reagan Presidential Library. Down beneath it, on the level below, is a Marine helicopter, one of the old Marine Ones used during the Reagan presidency.
Again, this is "The Reagan Centennial." It is a remarkable day.
And David Gergen, I want to bring you back into the conversation. We learn from our presidents. We learn lessons from every presidents. Many of them are good lessons, some of them perhaps not so good lessons.
But when Jim Baker was standing right there, I was reminded, you know, people say that Barack Obama has been too insular until his -- maybe his recent staff shifts at the White House, that George W. Bush was too insular. Jim Baker was a George H. W. Bush guy, a Texas friend of Ronald Reagan's opponent in the primaries in 1980, and yet he became a key member of Ronald Reagan's inner circle.
GERGEN: -- the Ford campaign and the Bush campaign. And yet, the day after President Reagan won the nomination, he turned to Jim Baker to help him with the debates and the campaign itself, the general fall campaign. And the day after he won the election, he turned to Jim Baker as his chief of staff.
And I think there's two lessons here. One is -- and Barack Obama knows this, by the way. He is acutely aware of what role Baker played. And I think in Bill Daley, he hopes to find his own Jim Baker.
But listen, let me say up front, disclosure, I was part of the team that Jim Baker recruited to come in with the president's blessing, to come and work in the White House. And I looked upon him not only as a friend, but as a mentor and a dear friend. So I'm very biased on this subject.
But nonetheless, I think Baker to Reagan represented a really smart move. He brought the Californians -- Reagan brought the Californians, Ed Meese, Mike Deaver, and others -- he brought a lot of longtime conservative friends, but he brought in Baker to help make the thing work, and to bring in a different voice. And Baker played that part.
Interestingly, John, I'm glad you brought up Jim Baker. At a time when Republicans are asking whether conservatives and moderates in their party, how they can get along -- we've had all the Tea Party things -- it's so interesting to me that Nancy Reagan has reached out to get Jim Baker to play such a prominent role at this centennial, because he did represent the more pragmatic, moderate wing of the Republican Party.
I think he served the president extremely well. Bill Bennett really should comment on this.
But for this particular moment, I also think it sends a signal of what Reagan represented. He wanted the big tent for Republicans. You didn't have to agree with him on everything to stop at his table and for him to look to you for support and work with you.
KING: David Gergen, appreciate that observation.
We'll get Bill Bennett's take in just a moment, and Gloria Borger's as well.
But first, we're going to take a quick break right now. We're expecting Nancy Reagan, the former first lady of the United States, Ronald Reagan's always partner, she will speak in just a few moments.
Please stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome back to our special coverage of the "Reagan Centennial." I'm John King at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Amy Grant just entertained the crowd. Now we're about to hear from the former first lady of the United States, Nancy Reagan.
NANCY REAGAN, FORMER U.S. FIRST LADY: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you so much.
It's wonderful to see all of you here today. Thank you for coming. It brings back so many memories to see all of your faces and I can't thank the Reynolds Foundation enough for making the new museum happen and GE and Edison for all of their support, everybody.
And I know that Ronnie would be thrilled and is thrilled to have all of you share in his 100th birthday. It doesn't seem possible, but that's what it is. Thank you so much. Happy birthday, Ronnie.
KING (voice-over): You see Ron Reagan there applauding Nancy Reagan. The former first lady is 89 years old, welcoming everyone to this remarkable event at the Reagan Presidential Library Centennial Celebration. Ronald Reagan would have been 100 today. The former president died at the age of 93.
Back in 2004, Gloria Borger, Nancy Reagan was always his partner, always a very tight bond in the relationship. And what people often didn't see behind the scenes both during his presidency and in his post-presidency how fiercely protective she was of her husband and the Reagan brand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Fiercely protective, fiercely loyal. I was talking to someone this week who was close to her and close to him and said, you know, when we used to have some problems in the White House we would go to Nancy Reagan. We all know this, those of us who were journalists at that time.
We used to go to Nancy Reagan because she knew how to talk to him about the problems that were occurring in the White House. She knew how to raise matters with him. You'll recall, John And David and Bill, you know, when there were staff changes that need to occur at the White House, she had her favorites and not her favorites. Very influential with this president, very influential.
KING: Well, Bill, expand on that a little bit. Gloria using very diplomatic language, her favorites and not her favorites.
BORGER: Bill was a favorite.
KING: She was a pretty fierce operator.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wasn't.
BORGER: You weren't a favorite? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was worried about me because I would draw up some ideas and she'd always look and think, but she was the closest adviser. I don't mean to break China here today, but you've got out there in California, John, a lot of the senior people, and they're all, you know, celebrating Ronald Reagan.
Oftentimes, he didn't take their advice. Oftentimes their advice was not the advice he wanted. Not all of the guys there today wanted him to walk out at Reykjavik without an agreement. Not all the guys there wanted him to give the evil empire speech. Not all the guys there today wanted him to call Gorbachev to tear down the wall. He took his own counsel.
If there was one other person whose counsel he took the most it was Nancy's. We were in the Bush administration for 2 1/2 years, my wife and I, at Camp David three times with the Bushes. I was with Ronald Reagan five years never at Camp David. He went with Nancy and only with Nancy.
BORGER: Well, John, remember the controversy -- remember the controversy when Nancy Reagan we discovered was consulting an astrologer about her husband's schedule? And I believe Don Reagan was the chief of staff at the time and didn't take too kindly to that. And that was a source of some friction.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. But it's important to remember I think as well, though, that Nancy did not get involved in policies very much. On the foreign policy she had a stance, but she stayed out of policy.
GERGEN: She did get involved in personnel and scheduling and I think that's quite different -- for example, Hillary Clinton was very deeply involved in policies for better or worse, judge that either way.
But Nancy steered clear of that. She didn't think that was her field. But she was fiercely protective of her husband when it came to overburdening him with a schedule or people she thought on the staff weren't quite 100 percent loyal for him.
And if Nancy got her hatchet out for you and you valued your manhood, you got out of the way. You could lose something pretty valuable.
BORGER: She was the original mama grizzly, OK.
KING: The original mama grizzly. And remember in the post-presidency she did become a very active voice and remains an active voice in supporting stem cell research, which some conservatives have taken issue with, but it's hard to take issue with Nancy Reagan and her legacy.
We're going to take a quick break here. We're continuing to watch the ceremony here at the Reagan Presidential Library. The "Reagan Centennial," in Simi Valley, California. Our special coverage continues in just a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING (voice-over): Welcome back to CNN's special coverage of the Reagan Centennial. The actor Gary Sinise paying tribute. Let's listen for a moment.
GARY SINISE, ACTOR: Who the hell wants to hear actors talk, he asked, but technology could not be stopped and quickly dialogue became king. And that was a good thing for actor, including, of course, Ronald Reagan. He loved his years in Hollywood and the entertainment business.
His time spent in radio, his 53 movies and many television shows helped teach him that there is an art and power in how best to communicate your ideas. Think of that resonant, confident voice we remember. Later, as our national leader, that same poise became something we wanted and needed to hear.
His common sense and thoughtful solutions to the problems we faced, his bold and inspiring vision of what America could be. His hopes and dreams for a future of all men living in peace and freedom and, yes, his laugh and soothing tones. Another sense of connection comes for me with my USO work.
We all know how seriously he approached his duty as commander in chief. He felt a deep obligation to and kinship with what he called the best damn kids who served in our armed forces. He worked tirelessly every day to keep them out of harm's way, but at the same time he made sure if they had to go into battle they had everything they needed and more.
He cared about them and they knew it. So Ronald Reagan has always loomed large in my mind, in my imagination. Whenever I visited this truly hallowed place, I felt a kinship and urge to be a part of it. And on February 26th, I will again have the honor to co-host our Fourth Medal of Honor celebration of Freedom Gala right here in the Air Force One pavilion.
At the second gala, I had the great pleasure of meeting Mrs. Reagan and was soon honored after when I received an invitation to host the online tour of the library on the Reagan Foundation website so I love this place. And I thank you, Mrs. Reagan, for asking me.
I will always -- I will always be grateful for the chance to share in this day, and I leave you with these final thoughts. Sometime, when a team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper.
You know, being here it doesn't feel like he's gone. It doesn't feel like it's been 100 years so happy birthday, Mr. President. God bless you, Sir, and God bless the United States of America you so loved. Thank you.
KING: The actor, Gary Sinise paying tribute to Ronald Reagan as part of the Reagan Centennial here at the Reagan Presidential Library.
Gary Sinise recalling Ronald Reagan's beginning in radio back in the day. Ronald Reagan's first job WOC in Davenport, Iowa. His next job for WHO paid him $75 a week. As we continue our conversation with Bill Bennett, Gloria Borger and David Gergen, it was during a trip to cover the Cubs in California that a studio called Warner Brothers gave Ronald Reagan a screen test and the rest, I guess, David Gergen is history.
GERGEN: It was, John. He loved to recall those radio days. He and Walter Cronkite were both radio announcers back in their youth and loved to swap tales because covering some of those games, John, you know, they had to sit there with a ticker coming in from Western Union and make it up as they went along.
They weren't at the game. They would go with Western Union and have all these sound effects that Cronkite and Reagan would use and each one of them had the experience that Western Union broke down in the middle of the game and they had to make it up and they did. He had a lot of fun those days.
KING: And, Bill Bennett, Alzheimer's clouded the final years of Ronald Reagan's life, but as president, as governor, he loved sports, he was a sports broadcaster. Perhaps fitting his birthday, his centennial is on Super Bowl Sunday.
He was a football player himself at Eureka College. You remember the wood cutting and pictures of Ronald Reagan throwing a football, riding a horse. He was a very athletic president and loved the outdoors, very athletic president.
BILL BENNETT: Yes, he used to talk about his athletic days and that sharpness, you talk about the Alzheimer's, but I was up at Grove City College the other night. They showed some video from '87 where we were releasing an education report. And I asked the president if he wanted to go to a poetry and the staff said no, no, stick to the script.
Well, as David just pointed out, Ronald Reagan knew how to go off script and handle himself. So I started the poem, "There are Strange Things done in the Midnight Sun," David probably knows the poem and Gloria.
And then the president finished it, just every single line. Secretary of education I was, got lost in the middle. The staff I thought was going to have a heart attack because this was unscripted. He was always on.
KING: And Gloria, you know, Jack Kennedy was the first -- Nixon Kennedy was the first televised presidential debate, but the Reagan White House using the skills of Ronald Reagan the actor, the imagery of the presidency, came to a new level and it was the beginning late in the Reagan presidency, the cable age and Ronald Reagan was not around when the internet dominated our politics, but he did master the imagery. Mike Deaver and that team, the imagery of the presidency and again of the Reagan brand. BORGER: You know, Mike Deaver and Jim Baker, of course, were brilliant. You know, somebody reminded me the other day that actually CNN started, of course in 1981, and the Reagan White House had to sort of start dealing with this notion of a 24/7 presidency and a cable network that would be on the air all the time.
And they understood, I was told by this former staffer, that this was going to change the nature of the American presidency in a way and that they had the perfect man to take advantage of it. You know, people made fun of Ronald Reagan. He's an actor. He's not a real politician, not an intellectual, et cetera, et cetera.
But it's those skills that allowed him to look into the camera, and people said about Ronald Reagan. He's the real deal. We believe him when he talks to us and it wasn't so much that he was a great actor, because he wasn't a fabulous actor.
It was because he had those beliefs, but knew how to talk to the American people. And I think there's some training he had that helped him -- that helped him do that in the dawning of the 24/7 era.
KING: Gloria, Bill, and David, stay with us. We're going to take a quick break. We will hear from the former White House chief of staff and Secretary of State James Baker when we come back.
Also a beautiful military flyover at the Reagan Centennial here in Simi Valley, California. CNN's special coverage continues in just a moment.
KING: Images from the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. On the wall pictures of Ronald Reagan aboard Air Force One. Howard Baker across the table there, his chief of staff during the end of the Reagan presidency post-Iran contra. You see Ronald Reagan telling stories.
George Schulz, the Reagan insider, at one point the secretary of state, to the right of that picture on the right there, Jim Baker in the back leaning on the back of the chair as Ronald Reagan talks on a flight on Air Force One. To the left, Ronald Reagan laughing, anyone who spent time with Ronald Reagan would tell you he was a storyteller.
He liked to joke, especially to break up a tense situation. These some of the remarkable, fabulous images here at the Reagan Presidential Library here in Simi Valley, California. Fred Ryan, who runs the Reagan Foundation, speaking now. He's introducing the former Reagan Chief of Staff James Baker.
FRED RYAN, REAGAN FOUNDATION: To that position and to all others, he brought his un-equalled skills as a strategist, a negotiator. He helped to assemble the unprecedented Gulf War coalition and to manage the peaceful end of the cold war and the Soviet Union.
Please join me in welcoming one of the most brilliant, skillful, and honorable men ever to serve at the pleasure of the president of the United States, Secretary James A. Baker III.
JAMES A. BAKER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you, Fred, for that very, very generous introduction.
Nancy, other members of the Reagan family, distinguished guests, it is really a privilege for me to be here today to celebrate the 100th birthday of an American whom we admire greatly not only for his service to our country, but because we respect him deeply for his defense of freedom and because we love him dearly for his influence on our lives.
Let me begin by recalling the days when Ronald and Nancy Reagan moved into the White House. I don't have to remind practically everybody out there that stormy seas were rocking our nation in 1981. The misery index, which was that corrosive mixture of inflation and unemployment, was taking its toll. For too many, the American dream felt like a national nightmare.
Gloom at home was matched by humiliation abroad. Terrorists in Tehran had held 55 American diplomats hostage. Our country, indeed, appeared to be a helpless giant in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Soviet interests were advancing in Asia and in Africa and in Central America. And into that storm marched a humble Illinois native with a background as diverse as the country that he loved.
He had studied economics at Eureka College. He'd been a radio broadcaster. He'd been a labor leader, a corporate spokesman, and governor of California, but most of us knew him as a Hollywood star and we called him the Gipper. Ronald Wilson Reagan assumed centerstage well prepared to play what journalist Luke Cannon later called the role of a lifetime.
Through dynamic policy and sound wisdom and inspirational words, he launched the Reagan revolution and he showed us how to be the very best Americans we could be. Citizens -- citizens defined by optimism, by determination, and by self-reliance. And at the same time he defended American exceptionalism against those critics who warned that our country was in permanent decline.
Ronald Reagan didn't say that the answer was more government, like politicians before him. Instead, he jokingly warned about what he called the nine most dangerous words in the English language -- I'm from the government, and I'm here to help. We laughed, of course, but we also nodded our heads in agreement.
At home he cut taxes, he streamlined regulation, he put Social Security on a sound basis, and he simplified our tax code. In so doing he helped our nation embark upon the longest peacetime expansion in its economic history, creating tens of millions of new jobs and unleashing the energies of hundreds of thousands of new entrepreneurs.
Abroad, President Reagan confronted tyranny and how did he do it? He did it by speaking truth to power. The wall that he challenged Mr. Gorbachev to tear down eventually tumbled because of his leadership and the leadership of President George H.W. Bush who followed him. Ten years after his evil empire speech, freedom and democracy had, indeed, left Marxism and Lennonism on the ash heap of history, just as he had predicted it would.
Under Ronald Reagan, the United States was a responsible superpower. Peace through strength was more than a clever catchphrase. It was a concise truism that defined a successful strategy for avoiding military conflict. While restoring our forces, Ronald Reagan was also deeply concerned about nuclear proliferation. So he worked with his Soviet adversary, that very same Mr. Gorbachev that he had challenged to reduce the number of atomic weapons on the planet.
Ladies and gentlemen, he also reminded us how to work together. While he held convictions as firmly as anyone I have ever known, he was also a pragmatist who saw the world as it is. He realized that a president's success is measured by his accomplishments. Ronald Reagan was a master at reaching across the aisle for solutions to our nation's problems.
And he reminded us about love. There was a woman named Nancy. She was everything to him. She was his fiercest protector, his closest adviser, and his beautiful and gallant first lady. But perhaps most importantly she was his soul mate. And theirs was a love for the ages. And it still is.
Now Ronald Reagan did all of this and so much more with the humor of one who preferred a joke at his own expense. It's true, hard work never killed anybody, he once deadpanned, but I figure why take the chance? Of course, nothing was further from the truth.
And that smile, that radiant, optimistic smile. It was a national treasure. He could express more with his smile than most of us can with a thousand words. Ronald Reagan symbolized America's optimism in his very being. Absolutely nothing could keep this unsinkable man down, not the hard times, not the criticisms, not even a would-be assassin's bullet.
Of course, there were those who didn't like Ronald Reagan's politics or his policies. But they couldn't dislike the man. They simply could not, because he was very simply a beautiful human being in body and in mind and in spirit. And everyone who knew him would agree with that statement.
He made us all proud to be Americans. In 1984, as had been mentioned up here earlier, after a successful first term, voters swept him back into office with the biggest landslide victory in U.S. history. And we continued to respond.
Polling during the past decade indicates that Americans consider Ronald Reagan one of our very best presidents ever. But, you know, folks, today on his birthday, we should do more than just talk about history, about what was. We should look to the future, because that's what Ronald Reagan did. He always believed that the best days were still to come for this shining city on the hill that he called America.
Today, we again face stormy seas that are not dissimilar from those of 30 years ago. Once more, the alarmists are sounding their apocalyptic cries. Well, 30 years ago, Ronald Reagan rejected predictions of America's decline. Not on my watch, he responded. And we must likewise reject the gloomy forecast today.
We should remember that the Reagan Revolution did not end when he left office 22 years ago or when he left Nancy and all of us on June the 5th, 2004.
Yes, the revolution was about a man, but it was really much more. The lessons Ronald Reagan taught us about freedom and self-reliance and common sense remain every bit as true today as they were then.
Like Ronald Reagan, we should focus with laser-like attention on our economy, which after all is the bedrock of our domestic and international strength. And a good start, I would submit to you, might be to reform our tax system, a system that once again insults our intelligence and impedes growth just as he reformed it in 1986.
And like Ronald Reagan, we must not expect government to solve all of our problems. And perhaps most importantly, like Ronald Reagan, we must relearn that as citizens of a democracy, it is OK to voice our disagreements. But at the end of the day, we have to come together to solve problems rather than cynically rely on them for partisan advantage.
I would like -- I would like to repeat something that President Reagan said during his farewell address to the nation. Sitting at his Oval Office desk for one last time, he talked about that city on a hill, about future challenges, and about his years in the White House. And he talked about his other nickname, the Great Communicator.
I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference, he said. It was the content. I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things. And they didn't spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation, from our experience, and our wisdom and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries.
He also said, they've called it the Reagan Revolution. Well -- he may have said, well, I'll accept that. But, for me, it always seemed more like the great rediscovery. A rediscovery of our values and our common sense.
Ladies and gentlemen, every single strand of Ronald Reagan's DNA was coated with a firm conviction and that was his belief that we Americans do indeed have a rendezvous with destiny.
Were he here today -- and were he here today, I know that Ronald Reagan would challenge us to march toward that rendezvous, heads high, proud and confident. And he would remind us that each generation of Americans must rediscover its values and its common sense.
The Gipper might cock his head, smile that infectious smile, and tell us that if we do those things, our nation will soar once again and forevermore. He helped us rediscover who we were. He reminded us of our history. And he challenged us to have big dreams about where we are going.
When all is said and done, that may be his greatest legacy.
Thank you and may God bless this nation that Ronald Reagan loved so much and served so well. Thank you very much.
KING (voice-over): The former secretary of state, former treasury secretary and former White House chief of staff, James Baker, speaking there a tribute to Ronald Reagan in which Secretary Baker also delivered a clear and rather blunt message to the politicians of today saying, the great gift of Ronald Reagan was he was a man of conservative principle who, at the end of the day, reached across the aisle to work with the other party.
We'll talk more about this in just a moment. But let's listen at this moment, Lee Greenwood on stage singing his trademark song.
(LEE GREENWOOD PERFORMS)
KING: F-18s from the USS Ronald Reagan -- F-18s from the USS Ronald Reagan flying over the ceremony here at the Reagan Centennial, Simi Valley, California.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sailors and soldiers, airmen and Marines --
KING: There you see a feed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- armed forces standing on the front lines of freedom around the world. Happy birthday, Mr. President.
KING: Remarkable sight there, four F-18s flying over the ceremony here at the Simi Valley site of the Reagan Presidential Library. See Nancy Reagan standing on stage there along with Secretary Baker.
Remarkable ceremony. Let's continue our conversation. David Gergen, Gloria Borger, Bill Bennett still with us.
David Gergen, I was fascinated by Jim Baker's speech. He was paying tribute to his friend, his former boss, Ronald Reagan, yet he also delivered a remarkable message to the politicians of today. We were talking earlier, Ronald Reagan was a conservative. He was a man of principle. However, he cut many deals with Democrats in his days and he had to give lot to get those deals.
Jim baker sending a message that I took as clearly directed at today's Republican party saying, yes, be of principle, yes, stand your ground, but at the end of the day we need to work together.
GERGEN: You know, that's been Baker's philosophy all along, and that's why I found it so fascinating that he was chosen to speak here today and have such a prominent role. Clearly, Nancy Reagan had a lot to do with that.
It's worth remembering that when he was chief of staff, there were conservatives who were trying to drum him out in 1982 out of that chief of staff role because they thought he was too willing to negotiate with Congress on behalf of the president. But the president insisted no, I want Jim Baker in there.
I thought what was interesting today was, John, he gave a very ringing defense of conservatism. Baker is a conservative. And he believes very much in limited government and individual self-reliance. And he believes in the optimism that Reagan had about America as a country.
But at the same time, Baker is a pragmatist. He comes out of the more moderate part of the conservative movement and he wants to get things done. And I think for him to be here today and make that statement, I thought -- you know, I happen to agree with that. I believe it's right. And I think it's right to advance it. But I imagine there are conservatives out there who were squirming to hear that. I'm very curious where Bill Bennett comes out on it. I celebrate it, but Bill may disagree.
KING: Well, Bill Bennett, come in on that point. Did you take it, Bill, as a message? Because the choice the Republican party faces for the next year and a half is cut some deals with Barack Obama, the President of the United States, a Democrat, or essentially fight and litigate all those issues in the 2012 campaign.
BENNETT: Is Bill Bennett squirming, David Gergen asks. No, I wasn't -- it wasn't crystal clear to me, David, that it was addressed just to Republicans, you know.
GERGEN: That's a good point. That's a fair point.
BENNETT: It followed the very strong statement about changing the tax code, you know, how horrible the tax code is. And, you know, this is a big part of what we believe in. But the problem is we're miles away -- miles away when you look at the state of --
KING: I need to jump in, guys. Sorry, I need to jump in.
BENNETT: I'm not squirming.
KING: I need to jump in. I'm very -- that's OK. I'm very sorry. I need to jump in because I want to show you -- we're about to have a ribbon cutting here. As part of the Reagan Centennial, they did wonderful renovations here at the Reagan Presidential Library.
So we want to take you back outside. You see me in the Air Force One Pavilion, but let's go back outside and watch what is about to happen here. They have renovated this library.
(voice-over): There are remarkable exhibits. It is a place to learn and study history whether you're a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent.
You're looking there at one of the Marine One helicopters now. And they're having a ribbon cutting essentially to say a reopening on this 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan.
Let's watch Nancy Reagan come up and cut the ribbon.
And there you have it. The ceremonial ribbon cutting on this Reagan Centennial day. Reopening the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. And, again, no matter your politics, this library, Democratic presidential libraries around the country, great places to get a glimpse at history from the wonderful images and here in Simi Valley, California. Fantastic historical images of the eight years of the Ronald Reagan presidency.
A quick break. CNN's special coverage of the Reagan Centennial continues in just a moment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- all of you for coming. If we could please ask that everyone remain in their seats until Mrs. Reagan's departed the stage. We would greatly appreciate it. Happy birthday, Mr. President.
KING (voice-over): The end of the ceremony here at the Reagan Presidential Library. The Reagan Centennial. While we were in break, they sang happy birthday to President Reagan. This would have been his 100th birthday.
Ronald Reagan, of course, died at the age of 93 back in 2004. But a reopening and a rededication of the Reagan Presidential Library today and a wonderful ceremony outside. Happy birthday the punctuation.
Now, Nancy Reagan will host a luncheon here in this building. This is the Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. You see the Boeing 707 behind me. You see the birthday cake. Look at that. A lot of red, white and blue. Some black-and-white images of Ronald and Nancy Reagan on the that cake. The VIPs out there.
Bill Bennett, I interrupted you as we were watching this earlier. You watch the pictures. We'll show you the VIPs in the crowd including former vice president Dick Cheney, his daughter, Mary, right there in the front row as part of this celebration.
Bill Bennett, I interrupted you earlier. So let me go to you first, at this moment, as we watch these remarkable pictures. Just put in context, maybe there's somebody younger out there who was not of age during the Reagan presidency say, why is this such a big deal? Why is it?
BENNETT: Well, it was kind of touch and go with the Soviet Union, you know. A lot of people thought that communism was the future. There were a lot of people who derogated Ronald Reagan's attempts. We won't go through them again. But there certainly was a lot of underrating of Ronald Reagan.
But the Soviets said, you know, what we have we keep. And we proved that not true in a very tiny little country named Grenada. But then came the incredible rollback. And this was historic. I mean, it was one of the most historic things in 400 or 500 years.
The notion that freedom's always with us. You can see it today, John, people assume, for example -- a lot of young people assume in Egypt that if Mubarak falls, there will immediately be freedom. There will immediately be Democratic institutions. You go from Mubarak to Jeffersonian democracy. Not necessarily so. In fact, not usually so as history goes.
So if we remember back to the Cold War and the fears about the Cold War, the buildup, nuclear deterrence, missiles in Western Europe, these were very heated topics and it wasn't at all clear which way history was going.
The Soviet leaders said it was going one way, Ronald Reagan said it was going the other way. Ronald Reagan was right. That's a very big deal, not just for an era or a decade, but for a century. More than a century.
KING (on camera): And Gloria, Bill makes a great point. In the days of Ronald Reagan, it was the U.S. versus the USSR. The West versus the Soviets. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, in some ways, the world is more complicated.
KING: And that it's the president of the United States, whether it's this president or the last president or probably the next president, wondering about Iran and its nuclear program. But there's not a dividing line between the communists and the democracies, if you will, anymore.
KING: What lessons -- what lessons are you learning through that?
BORGER: Well, you know, now the enemy is much more dispersed. It's al Qaeda hiding in caves in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It's a very different kind of threat. And I think the world is more complex now. But in a lot of ways the lessons we take from Reagan -- and I want to go back to what Jim Baker said about Ronald Reagan -- is that he believes in something called principled compromise. And as a young reporter after Reagan took a shellacking in the 1982 midterm elections, I remember covering Social Security reform. That was a very, very, very tough issue for both Democrats and Republicans. But they got it done because they had to make sure that Social Security remained solvent.
And as Jim Baker said, you have to solve problems and not use them cynically for your own future political benefit. He was talking to Democrats and Republicans. And I think that's the lesson we take from Ronald Reagan.
And, again, a more complicated world on the domestic policy front, certainly on the foreign policy front. But the singular message of Ronald Reagan was, I have a set of beliefs and I'm going to try to do what I can to get as close to them as I possibly can. And if I have to compromise on principle, I won't compromise on my principle, but I will compromise on the details to get it done.
We don't see a lot of that these days. We saw a little bit in the lame-duck session. Maybe we'll see a little bit more in this new Congress. But it's up to both parties. We don't know how that's going to go, John.
KING: All right. And David Gergen and Bill Bennett, stand by one second. I'm going to hold up some jelly beans here. Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans. They sell these here at the Reagan Presidential Library with the presidential seal and Ronald Reagan's autograph on them. I might enjoy them after the program today.
We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we'll go live to Egypt to check in on the latest in the developments there. An important day in Egypt today. And then we'll come back for our special coverage of the Reagan Centennial here in Simi Valley, California. Stay with us.
KING: We're back in the Air Force One Pavilion at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Ronald Reagan flew that plane behind me and one just like it -- another Boeing 707 as Air Force One around the world and, of course, around the United States. It's a glistening plane here, Air Force One. Any plane carrying the president was Air Force One. Among Ronald Reagan's trips, some to the Middle East. Hosni Mubarak became the president of Egypt during the Reagan presidency.
The world transfixed now, of course, by the unrest -- the political unrest and uncertainty in Egypt. A very important day there today, the government making some new concessions and also some reports of gunfire.
Our Hala Gorani is there in Cairo. And Hala, gunfire earlier. What's the situation now?
HALA GORANI, ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT, CNN: We understand that the military fired warning shots in the air when protesters tried to remove barbed wire from around a tank in order to form a human chain. We understand nobody was hurt; nobody was injured in that particular incident. But of course the situation still very tense here in Cairo in Egypt, that, John, anytime you hear gunfire from the Tahrir Square, you remember -- your mind is cast back to those scenes from two days ago when there was significant violence in downtown Cairo.
Another important potentially significant development is the participation of the ban the Muslim Brotherhood party in negotiations with the vice president here, Omar Suleiman, who is wanting to include opposition groups in negotiations, leading to a Democratic transition. The government says that will eventually culminate in elections in September. The Muslim Brotherhood, though, very much underlying the fact they do not trust the government yet and this is more exploratory than it is a participation in negotiation.
Also important to note that other opposition figures including Mohammed Elbraday (ph) were not present. Once again a wait-and-see situation politically in this country to see what these talks yield, and it's something that is going to have a huge impact on what ends up happening on the streets of Cairo.
KING: Hala Gorani, for us live in Cairo with the latest. Hala thank you very much.
Let's continue our conversation with Bill Bennett, Gloria Borger and David Gergen. David, I noted that Hosni Mubarak became the president of Egypt after the Saddat assassination during the Reagan presidency. And Jim Baker was the voice for many years of what I'll call real politics, essentially yes, they might be military dictatorships or they might be autocratic regimes in that part of the world but oil and security became the driving force in American policy there. Dates back to the Reagan days. Where are we going now?
GERGEN: Well, Jim Baker spent a lot of time negotiating with the Egyptians and he spent time in Cairo. They were particularly important as part of the coalition in the Bush years when we kicked Saddam out of -- Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. Dick Cheney just today called Mubarak a very good friend to the United States and a personal friend. There are a lot of people who worked with Mubarak over the years. And I personally believe that after some, you know, backing and forthing with President Obama is on a better track right now. I think he's on a good track and trying to set forward the principles that ultimately the United States would like to support, a democracy in Egypt that we are on the side of the people who want freedom there.
I think that's something Ronald Reagan would support. And, you know, at the same time the president saying in order to get there we must have a thoughtful orderly transition. Yes, we want to keep it moving along. We don't want to have it delayed. But it has to be an orderly transition. I think that latter emphasis, which has become a little more emphatic during -- in the last 48 hours on the part of the Obama administration echoes something Bill Bennett was saying earlier, and that is there is some concern in the administration, even as you move toward democracy. It's not easy to build a democracy. You have to have institutions. In this case, you have to change the constitution.
You don't want to just -- if you turn it over too quickly, you could invite chaos and you could invite the Muslim Brotherhood to exercise authority. So I think President Obama now is on the right track. It's going to be hard. There will be a lot of backing and forthing, but I do think he's on the right track.
KING: I want you all to listen, and then we'll talk on the other side, among the Republican luminaries on hand is the former Republican speaker of the house Newt Gingrich. He disagrees with David in the sense that he does not think the president is handling the Egypt crisis all that well. More on that later, but at the moment lets listen to Newt Gingrich talking about the Reagan legacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Why is it in your view that everybody who's a Republican, almost everybody, wants to be a Reagan Republican?
NEWT GINGRICH, (R) FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, he's I think the most significant Republican since Abraham Lincoln. He defeated the Soviet empire, relaunched our economy so we got very, very good economic growth and jobs, and he rebuilt our sense of pride in being American. I don't know any president in our history who entered office with three large goals, met all three goals as decisively as Reagan did. It is a remarkable thing. It is useful not just for Republicans but for all Americans to study Ronald Reagan.
KING: Is there a myth of Reagan at all inconsistent with the reality of Reagan?
KING: You mentioned three goals, he didn't exactly shrink government. He cut taxes dramatically but at times he compromised and raised taxes as well.
GINGRICH: I mean first of all, he always governed with a Democratic house so he had a limited ability to get certain things done. But he would always say if he had to choose between the deficit and national security he'd always pick national security. If he had to choose between lower taxes and the deficit he'd always pick lower taxes, which is where Milton Freedman was.
The biggest myth though is Reagan was not overwhelmingly popular until after his re-election. I mean, Reagan as late as September of 1980 is slightly behind Carter, and then Reagan was a very controversial figure. And we just watched a Bill Buckley firing line from January 14th, 1980 and he says to candidate Reagan, how do you feel about the fact that newspaper editors believe overwhelmingly that either Bush or Connolly is going to be the nominee and that you're not? You know, Reagan just kind of cheerfully going, well, don't get to vote in the primary. I'm not worried about it.
KING: Is part of the reason the Reagan label is still so applied to the Conservative movement since there hasn't been a larger than life leader to take over?
GINGRICH: I think that it's larger than life both in ideas and core values and principles and larger than life in accomplishments. It is not to say that other Republicans haven't been significant, but Ronald Reagan combined a remarkable ability for literally his entire political career to stand for certain key values, to make decisions based on those values, to communicate them to the American people so the American people put pressure on the congress. And he did it in a very carefully modulated way designed to get things done, not just to be a right-winger but to actually get what he wanted done.
KING: There's a generation of Americans that probably doesn't quite appreciate that.
KING: Younger Americans growing up having no experience of the tension of the time. What does that mean?
GINGRICH: Well, one of the reasons that I made the movie about Ronald Reagan is that, you know, if you were 18 when Reagan got elected, you're now 48. There's a whole generation of -- they don't remember the Soviet empire, they don't know the Berlin wall, they don't remember the tyranny we were faced with. And I think it is hard for them to appreciate this huge gap in understanding.
And frankly, as we face our dangers in our generation, there is a lot to learn from how Reagan confronted the Soviet empire and what his strategy for victory was. I think if people spent more time studying Reagan they would understand Egypt and Lebanon and Afghanistan and Iraq and Iran much better because Reagan had a deep strategic sense of history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The former house speaker, Republican Newt Gingrich of Georgia speaking about Ronald Reagan a bit earlier here. We are almost done with our special program. I want to go back to Bill Bennett. And Bill you just listened to Newt Gingrich there talking about the Reagan legacy and the failure, I'll use the word failure, of someone to emerge since then. There have been two Bushes as Republican presidents after Ronald Reagan. Why does nobody want to be a Bush Republican?
BENNETT: Well, we'll see what happens in time. If you look at the record, actually -- I'm glad you raised those points, John, because there's a way in which making a man an idol can make it impossible for people to really appreciate his accomplishments. You know, a man big enough to be a hero to an age is big enough to have the truth told about him. You were hinting at that. Ronald Reagan as governor signed the largest state bill providing abortion, making abortion legal in American history. He signed bills that raised taxes, the increases, you were talking about that. Do you know he granted amnesty to illegal aliens with Allan Simpson and so on?
The Reagan myth cannot become so overpowering that it's used as a cudgel or wedge, which I've seen it being used against people saying well what would Reagan do? You have to be perfect like Reagan. He wasn't perfect, but he was a great president. No man is perfect. The priorities that he had I agree with Newt, he mostly achieved. But you take a man in the totality of his actions.
I believe in the terms of the future, I believe this team that has come to Washington and I've been around now a long time, almost as long as David Gergen -- no, I don't mean that. And that little girl Gloria, that young gal. But I think this is the best team we've had on the field. And if you look at people like, you know, one of my favorites is Paul Ryan and other people, I think we have future Reagan's out there. And I'm not worried about that. And I think Reagan would not like to be treated as if he were somehow on Mt. Olympus and we need to be careful of that. Tell the truth about the man, all of it, the good and the bad.
BORGER: Let me just posit this. One of the reasons Reagan could compromise is because nobody questioned exactly what it was he believed in the first place. And so he had the ability to work with the Democrats because nobody said oh you know that guy, Reagan, what does he stand for anyway? They knew he wanted to get something done. GERGEN: Bill, can I just add a quick addendum. I agree with the point you're making but in some instances when Reagan departed from sort of conservative orthodoxy, I don't think that that showed he was wrong. I actually think that showed more about the measure of the man, that he was a large man. He had a sense of reality. He didn't want to go over the cliff with some things. He was very, very thoughtful about that so he cut taxes, he left us with a legacy of sharply reduced taxes but there were several times in the presidency as you all remember he did sign onto tax increases because he thought they were the right thing to do.
KING: David Gergen, Bill Bennett, Gloria Borger, I appreciate all three of you sharing your time and reflections with us today on this very special day. The Reagan centennial at the Reagan Presidential Library. I'm John King thank you for spending some time with us on this Sunday. As we say farewell to you, the words of the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, his last words to the American people as president. Have a great day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, 40th PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've done our part, and as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for eight years did the work that brought America back. My friends, we did it. We weren't just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger. We made the city freer. And we left her in good hands. All in all not bad. Not bad at all. And so, good-bye, god bless you, and god bless the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello. I'm Fredricka Whitfield at the CNN Headquarters in Atlanta. A look at our top stories this hour. A fatal shooting near Youngstown State University in Ohio. A 25-year-old, a YSU student is dead, 11 other people were wounded, and three of them remain in the hospital. But their injuries are said to be nonlife-threatening. It happened shortly after midnight and police say shots were fired indiscriminately at a house where members of a fraternity were having a party. Arrest warrants are expected later on today.
Flames light up the sky in Ohio after a train derailment, twenty eight tanker cars carrying ethanol ran off the tracks and caught fire. Twenty homes in the area were evacuated. No word of any injuries.
And the trial of three American hikers accused of spying is under way in Iran. One of them, Sarah Shourd, was released on bail last September. You remember that, because of a medical condition. Well, she left Iran and has not returned. Authorities in Tehran say Shourd will be tried in absentia if she doesn't appear in court in Iran.
And more gunfire in the heart of Egypt's capital where anti-government protesters are spending a 13th night. Earlier today Egypt's vice president met with some but not all of the opposition groups and Madeleine Albright, former U.S. secretary of state and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., told CNN that she believes the era of President Hosni Mubarak is over. The question now, how to have a peaceful transition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I think the opposition groups in Egypt are very interesting. They're not monolithic. They have some tactical differences in them. There are some personalities involved. They are also trying to figure out how to operate together. There is a desire, I believe, on behalf of some within the government to split the opposition. So that you have a variety of voices coming out of Egypt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Also all eyes on Super Bowl Sunday where it's party time already in Arlington, Texas. We'll check in with Bonnie Schneider for that Super Bowl forecast.
WHITFIELD: All right. Finally some sunshine in Arlington, Texas, but you know what folks don't care. They're going to be inside the dome.
BONNIE SCHNEIDER, AMS METEOROGOLIST: I know --
WHITFIELD: Maybe the tailgaters they care.
SCHNEIDER: They do and nice to get the snow and ice out of there.
SCHNEIDER: Melt anything that's left over. Friday, what a mess, with all the snow and so many flights canceled. Now we're OK. Gearing up for the game and everybody's excited. All right. Lets get right to it, I want to show you what's happening because depending on where you are in Texas it's not so warm out there. Right now in Dallas it's about 52 degrees, that's just fine. But then as you head to the north and west in the Lubbock area, there's some light snow falling and the temperature is holding in the mid to upper 30s.
Now, will that snow work its way to the east? I don't think so. As the kind of the moisture works its way further eastward, it really won't amount to much. I think a passing shower but overall looking good for the game. Here's a closer look. The rain/snow mix happening early and the temperatures will be colder tonight. Little bit colder. Like I said, most people will be inside and they will be in good spirits for the game.
WHITFIELD: Happy no matter what.
SCHNEIDER: Take a look at the computer models and you will see how the rain/snow mix kind of works its way just to the south, kind of pops up near the Dallas area and then dissipates, not much moisture, it really does dry out. Over all it is a good-looking forecast for the game despite the rough start Thursday and Friday.
A little bit snowy in places that have plenty of snow, talking about Milwaukee and Chicago. Very light snow falling, it really won't amount to much but the problem is amounts to being a nuisance at the airports so our one delay for this busy Sunday is in Chicago, 35-minute ground delays at O'Hare Airport, that is a lot better than all the cancellations we saw earlier, of course, across much of the week.
So the map for the week shows that we are still anticipating some very cold air to move southward. Let's show you a live picture of Atlanta, Georgia, now. Because it is actually quite nice today, the sun is shining. But the cold air is coming and temperatures will get back to highs in the 30s and 40s this week as this arctic air mass drops further south and was going to bring some colder temperatures to Dallas. Let's go there as we anticipate everything for the Super Bowl to show you what it's looking like. Nice and sunny out there you don't see too much snow or ice but you do see cool temperatures in the 50s.
As we watch this week we're monitoring a storm. Now it is looking a lot better than it did yesterday, some of the models are now making this less of a problem for the northeast and definitely still worth watching because it could bring a wintry mix to areas in the south and in the east. Early to say and we are days away. We always like to keep an eye on these tracks as we go towards the end of the week.
In the mean time the temperatures are very comfortable as in the south, 51 degrees in Nashville and 47 in Louisville, Kentucky, and 54 in Montgomery, Alabama. For today, you will be warming up to highs in the 40s in the northeast. So, I know Boston's happy about that. Had so much snow to melt, they had like 40-foot high snow drifts in some area. They have to get rid of it all.
WHITFIELD: The 40-degree temperatures will help.
WHITFIELD: All right. Bonnie Schneider thanks so much.
WHITFIELD: All right. Well, perhaps you've seen the movie lately or maybe you haven't. Well get ready for some serious sticker shock. We'll tell you about the latest price hikes in our business report.
WHITFIELD: A new jobs report, paying more at the movies and some key earnings reports all of that making financial news right now. Our business team brings Wall Street to Main Street. Let's begin with Alison Kosik.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredericka. Jobs were the focus this week. The government's latest figures showed the economy added 36,000 positions in January, that's a big disappointment considering that Wall Street was expecting a gain of about 150,000. But the unemployment rate fell sharply, dropping to 9 percent. However, analysts are skeptical about the reliability of both sets of numbers, partly because of the weather's impact. The report sparked little reaction on Wall Street, stocks did end higher for the week but during this week oil prices hit a two-year high of more than $92 a barrel because of concerns about the unrest in Egypt.
Finally, there's talk that Borders group could file for bankruptcy. When the report came out, Borders shares immediately plunged. They fell more than 50 percent this week, ending at just 39 cents a share.
STEPHANIE ELAM, BUSINESS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Alison. This past week saw the launch of the "Daily," a newspaper designed specifically for the Apple ipad. Created by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, the "Daily" will sell for 14 cents an issue. It is the ipad's first subscription-based newspaper.
The price of a movie ticket hit a record high last year. The National Association of Theater Owners says the average ticket was just under eight bucks in 2010. The increase is due to the growing popularity of 3D movies which typically cost a few dollars more.
And finally, airfares are also on the rise. Farecompare.com says American raised prices by up to $10 on round trip tickets this past week and other carriers like United, USA Airways and Delta followed suit. The airlines are blaming high oil prices.
Poppy has a look at what's coming up in business news.
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Thanks, so much, Steph. Well President Obama will visit the Chamber of Commerce this week, many see it as part of the president's work to build bridges with the business community, he is expected to emphasize the administrations business friendly policies and also to discuss job growth and international competitiveness with corporate America. The Chamber of Commerce, of course is the world's biggest business group.
Also ahead this week, we will get the latest weekly jobless claims and earning from of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Disney and Cisco. And a new redesigned $100 bill will be released this Thursday, it is the first redesign of the Benjamin since 1996, and it includes new measures to combat counterfeiting. Over the past decade the 50, 20, 10 and $5 bills have all gotten makeovers.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, ladies. At the top of the hour, "YOUR MONEY." Senior business correspondent Ali Velshi reports on a potential huge new tax cut that may not cut your taxes at all. But first, a look at the top stories.
All is relatively quiet in Tahrir Square after a burst of gun fire you hear there. Witnesses say protesters got too close to tanks around the square so the army began firing the shots. It's the 13th night of protests aimed at removing President Mubarak. He says he plans to stay until elections in September. And former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright tells CNN the Obama administration has to make its goals clear.
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MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States, I think, cannot micromanage the process. What we have to do, however, is make clear that the process itself is important and arriving at a Democratic solution is important which is, in fact, inclusive, Democratic, peaceful and rapid. And I think that the administration has been walking a very delicate line quite well.
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WHITFIELD: The trial of three American hikers accused of spying is under way in Iran. One of them Sarah Shroud was released on bail last September because of a medical condition. She left Iran and has not returned. Authorities in Teheran say Shroud will be tried in absentia if she does not appear in court there.
And police in Ohio are working to identify the suspects in an off- campus shooting near Youngstown State University. A student was shot to death and 11 other people were wounded. Six of them are also students at Youngstown State.
And flames light up the sky in northwestern Ohio after a trail derailment, 28 tanker cars carrying ethanol ran off the tracks and caught fire. Twenty homes in the area were evacuated. No word of any injuries.
I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Atlanta. "YOUR MONEY" starts right now.