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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Encore Presentation: Interview With Nancy Reagan

Aired June 2, 2007 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN: So, Nancy, in front of all your friends here today, let me say thank you for all you do. Thank you for your love and thank you for just being you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, a rare hour with former First Lady Nancy Reagan. She lived one of the great love stories of our time, as the woman behind the president who helped change the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

R. REAGAN: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And saw America through crisis and trauma.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM JANUARY 28, 1986, EXPLOSION OF SPACE SHUTTLE CHALLENGER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Throttle up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) throttle up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

R. REAGAN: And slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of god.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now, Nancy Reagan takes us inside the just published Reagan diaries -- the remarkable record left by her late husband, who took the time to put pen to paper and handwrite a personal journal of his historic presidency.

Nancy Reagan is next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We're at the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles -- actually in Bel Air, California -- with the former first lady of the United States, Nancy Reagan.

And the occasion is the publication of the Reagan diaries, edited brilliantly, by the way, by Douglas Brinkley, the historian.

And, by the way, Nancy has brought along one of the books. I just want to show this to you. These are the actual diaries.

He wrote small.

NANCY REAGAN, FORMER FIRST LADY: He did. Yes, he did. Yes, he wrote small and the lines were close together.

KING: Did you have trouble reading them?

REAGAN: No.

KING: He also write evenly, right?

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: He kept an even line?

REAGAN: Yes, very.

KING: He was a prolific writer.

REAGAN: Oh, he loved to write and wrote all the time.

KING: Now, what did you know about the diaries while they were being written?

Because diaries are very personal. Usually, a diary keeper keeps it for him or herself.

REAGAN: And he did. He did. The only reason that he ever started writing the diary was because when we left Sacramento, we discovered that we couldn't remember anything. You know, and at the time, we said, well, we'll remember. Well, of course, you don't remember. So we vowed then and there that if ever anything presented itself, that we would keep a diary.

KING: So you kept one, too?

REAGAN: Sort of.

KING: Will we see that published?

REAGAN: No.

KING: And why not?

REAGAN: Because I say so.

KING: Too personal?

REAGAN: Well, it's much -- yes. Um-hmm.

KING: That's fair enough.

Did he write this for history?

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: So he was very aware...

REAGAN: No.

KING: ... his would be read?

REAGAN: Excuse me. No, he did not write -- I'm sorry. No, he did not write it for history. He wrote it for himself. As a matter of fact, he used all the material that was in the dairy to write his autobiography. It would remind him of things.

KING: So when he was on our show when that autobiography came out, he used the diaries as a reference point?

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: Did you get to read any of it while he was keeping it?

REAGAN: No.

KING: When did you first read them?

REAGAN: Oh, gosh. It was a while ago. It was a while ago.

KING: Tell me what led to publishing them.

REAGAN: Well, no other president has ever done this, right?

They've never kept -- well, no, that's not right. There were a couple of others.

But Ronnie hand wrote them, as you know. And I just thought that there was so much in this diary that people didn't know about Ronnie and that they really should know about Ronnie. And for history's sake, it's so important.

And there's a lot in there pertaining to, obviously, what -- what went on at the time. I mean, historically, it's very interesting.

KING: There's a sensitivity, though. Presidents -- I know we were at a dinner with President George W. Bush, and my wife asked him does he keep a diary?

And he said no, because that's too personal and the presidency shouldn't be out there, you know? That's something for a personal record, not for a public record.

REAGAN: Well, and Ronnie didn't write it for a public record. Ronnie wrote it for himself, really, not for a public record.

KING: He'd be happy with this, though, don't you think?

REAGAN: I think so. KING: I think he'd be very happy.

A couple of things, one of the most poignant things, not just writing about the assassination, but his thoughts about the assassin.

REAGAN: I know. And, also, when he said, "Getting shot hurts."

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN: You know, he had a way of expressing, like: "I don't like Mondays."

KING: Yes.

REAGAN: Or when it came time to leave office, all he said was, "Tomorrow, I'll no longer be president."

Now, I can imagine most people would go into the emotion and the...

KING: My deep pain.

REAGAN: Yes. But not Ronnie.

And about the man who shot Ronnie, you know, do you -- I don't know of anybody else who would feel the way that Ronnie felt.

KING: Praying for him.

REAGAN: Uh-huh.

KING: That's one of a kind.

REAGAN: As I remember, he said, "I can't ask for God to look after me if I'm not ready to forgive this man."

KING: We're with Nancy Reagan, the publication of "The Reagan Diaries" now available everywhere.

We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM INAUGURATION, JANUARY 20, 1981)

R. REAGAN: I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear.

I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING (voice-over): 1981 -- the inaugural, January 20th, was an emotional experience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

R. REAGAN: Government is the problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM INAUGURATION, JANUARY 20, 1981)

KING: But then, the very next day, it was down to work. The first few days were long and hard.

Wednesday, February 18, 1981: "This was the big night -- the speech to Congress. I've seen presidents over the years enter the House chamber without ever thinking I would one day be doing it. It was a thrill and something I'll long remember."

Monday, March 30, 1981: "Getting shot hurts. Still, my fear was growing, because no matter how hard I tried to breathe, it seemed I was getting less and less air. I focused on that tiled ceiling and prayed. But I realized I couldn't ask for god's help while at the same time I felt hatred for the mixed up young man who shot me. I began to pray for his soul and that he would find his way back to the fold."

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COMMERCIAL

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM JULY 6, 1983)

N. REAGAN (SINGING): Oh my dear, our love is here to stay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING (voice-over): Wednesday, July 6, 1983: "Nancy's birthday. Life would be miserable if there wasn't a Nancy's birthday. What if she had never been born? I don't want to think about it.

(AUDIO CLIP)

Thursday, August 7, 1986: "Upstairs and waited for mommy to come home, and come home she did. Rex got to her first, but that's because he can outrun me."

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: Our love is here...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEO TAPE)

KING: We're back with Nancy Reagan in sunny California -- the publication of "The Reagan Diaries."

And you are in -- are you in every other notation?

This book could be called "Nancy."

REAGAN: Yes I know. I know. Well, I knew, of course, that he said a lot of those things to me. But it's very touching to see that he wrote them.

KING: Was any of it at all, since you're such a private person. I've gotten to know you very well and you look up private in the dictionary, your picture was there.

Any of it too private for you?

REAGAN: I don't think so. No. You know, all that he said about me, it wasn't terribly private. It was personal and sweet.

KING: Very sweet.

REAGAN: So sweet. But it was true, we didn't like to be apart. We just didn't like it.

KING: No. He writes repeatedly that she's gone overnight. I'm lost.

REAGAN: I know. I know. And I remember one country that we went to -- I don't remember what country it was -- but they put us in separate bedrooms. Well, Ronnie was just having a fit. I don't know if they ever moved us or what, but we didn't like to be apart.

KING: There's a line on February 1st 1984 that may resonate with a lot of parents: "Insanity is hereditary. You can catch it from your kids."

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: With all his presidential responsibilities, his focus on you, how good a father was he?

REAGAN: Oh, he was a good father. There were little areas of disagreement but those kids...

KING: And they come up in the book.

REAGAN: And they come up in the book. And -- but he was a good father.

KING: I think some of the most amusing and ingratiating things about him were the remarks about Tip O'Neill.

Now, Tip O'Neill was speaker of the House. He didn't agree with a thing that Ronald Reagan stood for...

REAGAN: That's right.

That's right.

KING: And I got to know Tip pretty well. And Tip used to tell me, you know, he's quite a guy. And Ronnie really liked him, didn't he?

REAGAN: Yes. Oh, he did.

KING: That was a true friendship.

REAGAN: Yes, it was. He recognized that Tip was a true Democrat.

KING: Big D.

REAGAN: Who would -- took your brains out, politically. But personally, they were fine.

KING: Tip told me once that he ripped him apart on the House floor, came back to his office. The secretary said, the president's on the phone. Tip said uh-oh.

And all he said was did you hear this joke?

REAGAN: (LAUGHTER).

KING: He had a joke for him.

He's often positive about George H.W. Bush -- or, Bush, rather.

But they didn't have -- it could not be called a personal relationship, did they?

REAGAN: No. Not really.

KING: They were cordial?

REAGAN: Yes. I mean the...

KING: Or is that -- that's my word.

REAGAN: They had lunch every week. And they met, of course, many times during the week. But, well, you know, George had his own schedule, so that we didn't really see him very often. They came over to the house...the house -- the...

KING: The house.

REAGAN: The house -- or something to have dinner or, you know, dinner. But most of the time, George was one way and Ronnie was another.

KING: Do you ever miss him?

I mean not ever miss him.

How much do you miss him?

REAGAN: Ronnie?

Oh...

KING: How long has it been now?

I can't remember. It seems like yesterday. REAGAN: I know. To you, maybe. No, I -- there are people who told me that it gets much easier. Well, maybe for them, but not for me. I miss him now more than I ever did. I remember more now than I ever did -- all the little things that we did.

KING: Do the kids like the diaries, even though sometimes he's very blunt about them?

REAGAN: I talked to Ron yesterday and he likes them. I know Patti hasn't started really yet. She's working on a script.

KING: Oh, a movie?

REAGAN: Um-hmm.

KING: We'll be right -- that's a little scoop.

We'll be right back with Nancy Reagan.

The publication of "The Reagan Diaries" -- a beautifully bound book. And it's sitting here right under her hand. It's one of the actual books of diaries.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

KING (voice-over): Monday, August 15, 1988: "This is my surprise day. A great luncheon tribute is on for Nancy, which I'm not supposed to attend. I will, however. It was a complete surprise to everyone. For once, there was no White House leak.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM AUGUST 15, 1988)

R. REAGAN: What do you say about someone who is always there with support and understanding? Someone who makes sacrifices so that your life will be easier and more successful?

Well, what you say is that you love that person and treasure her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COMMERCIAL

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM JANUARY 28, 1986, EXPLOSION OF SPACE SHUTTLE CHALLENGER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Challenger, go with throttle up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger. Go with throttle up.

KING (voice-over): Tuesday, January 28th, 1986: "A day we will remember for the rest of our lives. In came Poindexter and the V.P. with the news the Shuttle Challenger had blown up on takeoff. We all then headed for a TV and saw the explosion replayed. There is no way to describe our shock and horror.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM JANUARY 28TH, 1986)

R. REAGAN: We will never forget them, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of god.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Friday, January 31st, 1986: "Met with families at NASA Center. An emotional time. Then out to join some 14,000 people. It was a hard time for all the families and all we could do was hug them and try to hold back our tears.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

KING: We're back with Nancy Reagan, the publication of "The Reagan Diaries."

One of the -- another credible part of reading this -- of course you're reading history when you read it, and -- is the Challenger disaster.

Where were you when you heard of that?

REAGAN: I was in my office and Ronnie was in his office. A terrible thing. Terrible. Terrible.

KING: You were with him when he went and made that great speech?

REAGAN: Oh, yes.

KING: "Touch the lips of God."

REAGAN: Um-hmm. Um-hmm. What a sad, sad thing that was.

KING: How did he take it personally? I mean how do you -- when you're president and death occurs on your watch -- that's what it is, death on your watch.

REAGAN: That's hard. Yes, and it's -- it's, I think, the hardest thing to do, when you -- when people die under your watch. You feel this terrible responsibility and sympathy, of course. It's hard.

KING: The bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut. Boy, he writes about that with a lot of anger.

REAGAN: He was angry. He was angry. Yes, very angry.

KING: But that made him wary, right, about sending men...

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: ... into hostile area.

REAGAN: Yes, but -- but he was always aware of what he was doing. If he did that, he was always very aware of that.

KING: How did he prepare for meeting the families of those Marines?

REAGAN: There just was no way to prepare, you know?

There really wasn't. We would -- we would go to see them. He would hug them, hug the woman. I would hug them. And, really, all that you could do was hug them and say how sorry you were. It was very hard for everybody.

KING: He was then -- I guess they called him comforter-in-chief.

Sending people -- when people die and you watch, that's the worst. Comforting people has to be the second hardest thing.

REAGAN: Yes, it is. It is. But Ronnie -- Ronnie was very good at it.

KING: Were you?

REAGAN: I wasn't as good as he was. People just liked to have Ronnie put his arms around them. And the expressions on his face, Lord.

KING: Before he would speak about a great national tragedy, would he talk to you?

REAGAN: Sometimes. Not always.

KING: So, therefore, you didn't always know what he was going to say?

REAGAN: No. No, no, no.

KING: He didn't rehearse with you?

REAGAN: No. No, he didn't.

KING: Well, that's kind of better, isn't it?

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: You get it firsthand.

REAGAN: And it was better for him, too, I think.

KING: Did he like writing?

REAGAN: He loved writing.

KING: Letters, too -- the last of the letter writers.

REAGAN: The letters, yes. But isn't it sad now...

KING: He wouldn't have been an email guy?

REAGAN: No, he wouldn't. No, he wouldn't.

But isn't it sad now that nobody writes anymore?

KING: No.

REAGAN: I mean, this, of course, the diary, that's out of the question. Nobody's going to do that. And imagine, historically, to see the diary with his handwriting...

KING: Is it hard for you -- hard for you to look at it?

REAGAN: In a way.

KING: I mean...

REAGAN: In a way.

KING: ... this is the actual thing.

REAGAN: Yes. But he was very -- he was very disciplined about his writing and doing it every night.

KING: So he did it?

REAGAN: He did it.

KING: During the period when -- after he was shot, he had to get caught up, right?

REAGAN: Oh, yes. Yes.

KING: He didn't do it in the hospital?

REAGAN: No, no.

KING: We'll be right back with Nancy Reagan.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

KING (voice-over): Saturday, October 22nd to Sunday, October 23rd, 1983: "About 2:30 in the morning, awakened again, this time with the tragic news that more than 100 Marines in Beirut had been killed by a car bomb driven by a suicide driver who drove the truck right into the headquarters building and blew up with it."

Friday, November 4th, 1983: "An early start for Camp Lejeune in North Carolina -- a memorial service for the Marine dead of Lebanon. It was a moving service and as hard as anything we have ever done. At the end, "Taps" got to both of us.

(VIDEO CLIP OF CEREMONY)

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COMMERCIAL

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

KING (voice-over): Tuesday, November 19th, 1985: "This was the day Mr. Gorbachev and I met. We were scheduled for 15 minutes of private one-on-one. We did an hour, which excited the H--L out of the press."

Sunday, October 12th, 1986: "Then began the showdown. He wanted language that would have killed SDI. I was mad. He tried to act jovial but I acted mad and it showed."

Tuesday, May 31st, 1988: "Before the day was over, Gorbachev walked me out into Red Square. It was quite a sight -- the expanse is so great it is really something to see."

(END VIDEO TAPE)

KING: "The Reagan Diaries," now published. In its fourth printing, by the way. An incredible take off for this.

Are you surprised at that?

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: This is a -- it's a $35 book. It's not, you know, not on sale.

REAGAN: No.

KING: A great cover picture. And, of course, having the real one right with us is -- I -- it's some moment to see it.

REAGAN: It really is.

KING: You feel like you're sitting with him.

REAGAN: Yes. Yes.

KING: Many diary entries about Mikhail Gorbachev.

Tell me about that relationship, where it started and went.

REAGAN: It started -- you mean when?

KING: I mean, it started slow and went good.

REAGAN: Very good. I mean, from the moment they first sat down with each other there was a connection. You could see it. You could feel it.

KING: Even though he was disappointed at times. REAGAN: Yes, well, yes, he was, regularly. But when they left and they went down to the little place where the fire was going...

KING: Why?

REAGAN: ...and they stayed there for about an hour, and all the others were getting worried. What is he doing? What is he giving away? But that turned out to be very, very successful. And that was when the next meeting was planned. And I think the next two other meetings were planned. It was...

KING: Can we say he liked him?

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: Because I know Gorby liked him.

REAGAN: Oh yes. And, you know, Gorby...

KING: He calls him Gorby in the diary.

REAGAN: I know. He's been so sweet to me. He came for Ronnie's service in Washington. And he came to Blair House to see me and he stood there at the door, and I looked up, and there he was with his arms outstretched. And I went over to him and he hugged me. And we just stood there. It was so sweet.

KING: A special guy.

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: Did you have problems with his wife?

REAGAN: Oh sure, everybody did.

KING: What was the clash, she was difficult?

REAGAN: She was a dedicated socialist and she wanted everybody else to be a dedicated socialist.

KING: So it was political.

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: The Berlin Wall speech, what was that like for you and for him?

REAGAN: Exciting.

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN: Very exciting, and, of course, there were a lot of people who were telling him, you can't say that. You can't say -- I think it was taken out of the speech a few times and then he would put it back in.

KING: Well...

REAGAN: I think. I have to check my facts.

KING: What was it like for you?

REAGAN: To hear that?

KING: Yes.

REAGAN: Exciting.

KING: I mean did it capture --

REAGAN: Oh sure.

KING: I mean it's your husband at the center of the world.

REAGAN: That's right and that was how he felt.

KING: He writes about her with such affection, Margaret Thatcher. That was a friendship.

REAGAN: That was a real friendship, real friendship. He respected her. He responded to her. She was a strong woman, very strong woman. And, you know, she came over for Ronnie's service. And when you think about it, she flew from England to Washington, stayed for the service, got on a plane with us, flew to California. And I mean that's a lot of traveling.

KING: In fact, the final state dinner was in her honor. Did he like those formal dinners?

REAGAN: I think so, some better than others, of course. But, you really can get a lot accomplished at a state dinner.

KING: You can?

REAGAN: Oh, yes, a lot. A lot of business can be accomplished in the state dinners.

KING: Not just chit chat.

REAGAN: No, no.

KING: So you liked them, too?

REAGAN: I did.

KING: Well, you were a great hostess, too.

REAGAN: Well, I loved doing it. I loved giving the state dinners. I just loved it. How else could you ever give a party like that, Larry?

KING: I know.

REAGAN: You didn't have to do anything except show up.

KING: We'll be right back with Nancy Reagan. Don't go away.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

KING: "Friday, February 27, 1981, P.M. getting great press. Some of the senators tried to give her a bad time. She put them down firmly and with typical British courtesy. I believe a real friendship exists between the P.M., her family and us. Certainly, we feel that way and I'm sure they do."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIE WIESEL: The issue here is not politics but good and evil. That place, Mr. President, is not your place.

KING: "Friday, April 5 through Sunday April 14, 1985, during most of the week, the press had a field day assailing me because I accepted Helmut Kohl's invitation to visit a German military cemetery during our visit to Bonn. All of this was portrayed as being willing to honor former Nazis but trying to forget the Holocaust.

Sunday, May 5, 1985, dawns the day the world has been hearing about for weeks. This was the day everyone, well not everyone, but much of the press had predicted would be a disaster. I always it was the morally right thing to do."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Nancy Reagan. Her hands are on the actual diary, one of the five sets -- five books and this is one of them. And of course, the book is now available, the "Reagan Diaries" edited by Douglas Brinkley, a wonderful historian.

The bluntest part of the book, may be most difficult for some to read is about Bitburg and the decision to visit that cemetery which housed Nazi soldiers. And he is very tough, he says, "There's no way I'll back down or run for cover. I'm not going to cancel anything no matter how much the bastards scream." Why did he so stick to his guns?

REAGAN: Because he felt that he had given his word that he would go there. Now, at the time, nobody knew that there were Nazi boys there. It was -- Mike Deaver advanced that trip.

KING: I remember.

REAGAN: And it was snowing and it was all covered up.

KING: When he went?

REAGAN: When he went. So we didn't know. KING: So he could have said, well, in view of all this...

REAGAN: He could have.

KING: ...I won't go.

REAGAN: He could have.

And then there was some talk about changing it to someplace else. But no he -- and then he believed that -- he believed in forgiveness, that these men had paid the ultimate price and they should be forgiven.

KING: And in a sense, they were soldiers.

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: Concentration camps.

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: Was it difficult for him, though. Did he talk to you about it? Did he ever think of not going?

REAGAN: Never. Never. I did.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: I'll bet. Did you say don't?

REAGAN: I said, don't you think we could skip this?

KING: Every husband watching this understands that answer.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: How did Iran-Contra go for you and him? That was tough.

REAGAN: Very tough, very tough. Because for the first time in his life, he had the feeling that people didn't trust him. And that was hard.

KING: How did he get through it? That was the most difficult time of his presidency.

REAGAN: Yes, yes. Yes, it was. And he wasn't served very well, is what it comes down to.

KING: True. Does -- did he think in terms of what his legacy would be?

REAGAN: No.

KING: No?

REAGAN: Never did. KING: Not what are they going to say about me, Nancy?

REAGAN: Never.

KING: Because I notice in reading these, he doesn't ever write about, what's history going to say?

REAGAN: No, never. He just didn't think that way, ever.

KING: Did he keep writing into Alzheimer's, by the way?

REAGAN: No. No, he stopped when...

KING: When the presidency was over?

REAGAN: ...when the presidency stopped.

KING: How about his relationships with the media? He didn't like anchors, boy, he didn't like anchors.

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN: Well, you know, it went hot and cold, as these things do.

KING: He has been pretty -- he is pretty critical of some of these...

REAGAN: Yes, I know.

KING: Is there anything Mr. Brinkley or you left out -- other than just editing, is there anything you said, we don't want the public to see this?

REAGAN: No.

KING: It's a fair question.

REAGAN: It is a fair question, but I -- no, I can't think of anything.

KING: That's good.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: There are many harsh diaries about Gadhafi in Libya. In one he mentions an article about how the media many spellings for the leader's name. He reflects that he spells it however he last read it. So his diary has many variations about spelling Gadhafi. He had fun with that, right?

REAGAN: Yes. And then you notice that Ronnie never -- if he wanted to write a swear word...

KING: Yes. Help me with that. I had to read some of these for our breaks. And it felt weird to me to say to "H-dash-dash-L." REAGAN: I know. But he isn't like -- he didn't like that.

KING: Was he not a curser?

REAGAN: No, he wasn't.

KING: Because some people privately are.

REAGAN: I know.

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN: No, but he wasn't. He'd say, holy Toledo.

KING: So he was uncomfortable...

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: ...using what might be called foul language.

REAGAN: Yes. Then there is the thing in there, I think, of we ran a movie, and he said, it would have been all right, but it was pornographic. I forgot what movie -- "Officer and a Gentleman."

KING: Pornographic?

REAGAN: I never -- I mean, I did see the movie, I don't remember it. But Ronnie didn't like crudeness at all.

KING: Well put. Back with Nancy Reagan after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE United States: America is too great for small dreams.

KING: "Wednesday, January 25, 1984, dropped in for a minute on the TV anchormen and women who were being briefed on tonight's State of the Union address. I cannot conjure up one iota of respect for just about all of them."

SAM DONALDSON, TV ANCHORMAN: The polls show that a lot of American people just simply don't believe you.

KING: "Saturday, July 23, 1988, phoned Sam Donaldson regarding the death of his mother. She was 93 and lived alone on a farm doing the necessary chores. He told me she voted solidly Republican all her life."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Nancy Reagan. Ronnie was quite a -- Ronnie, I have to say it. Well, I had lunch with him, you and me and him here at this hotel. REAGAN: That's right. That's right.

KING: There was a wedding going at the same time and we wound up in the middle of the wedding party.

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: He was a film critic. He writes of "Nine to Five," it was funny, but he didn't like the pot smoking scene. Again, might have called it crude. Liked "Reds," Warren Beatty's movie...

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: ...most imaginative. He liked the German movie "Das Boot." And found that it was so good that he found himself rooting for the enemy.

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN: I don't remember that movie.

KING: He must have seen a lot of movies.

REAGAN: We usually ran a movie, or maybe two, at Camp David.

KING: And he remained a fan, right, of his industry?

REAGAN: Oh, sure.

KING: I even get mentioned. He watched me interview Kirk Douglas.

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: He was a -- how are you going to leave all of that part of your life out, right?

REAGAN: No. No, of course, he was...

KING: He stayed interested in movie people.

REAGAN: Yes, he did.

KING: OK. What about faith in his life?

REAGAN: Oh, well, it was obviously very, very important to Ronnie. And it comes up all through the book, the writing.

KING: Would you call him devout?

REAGAN: I guess so, although he never -- how should I put it? He never...

KING: Wore it on his sleeve?

REAGAN: No. KING: That he didn't do.

REAGAN: Thank you.

KING: Didn't preach.

REAGAN: No. No, but it was a very, very important part of his life, very.

KING: Was church-going important?

REAGAN: Yes. And that is why he was very upset we were not able to go to church as much as he would have liked.

KING: Because?

REAGAN: Because of security.

KING: They didn't tell you you can't go?

REAGAN: No, no.

KING: But...

REAGAN: But he knew that if we went that then there would be a whole big deal made by the Secret Service and everybody in the church. And it would uncomfortable. So we didn't go very much.

KING: A lot of optimistic in these diaries, but there's some worry, Armageddon.

REAGAN: Armageddon.

KING: The Middle East. He has deep concerns at the same time.

REAGAN: Yes, he does.

KING: What prompted the optimism? I mean, I could make a case that it's strange to be optimistic in this world.

REAGAN: Not for him. The glass was always half full, always. That is...

KING: How did he deal with disappointment?

REAGAN: Well, how did he? I don't know how to answer that, Larry.

KING: How did the two of you argue?

REAGAN: Well, we didn't argue very much.

KING: But when you did, were there kind of rules?

REAGAN: Rules? KING: I mean I don't know how to put it. You know, some people can argue and there are no rules and it gets very testy. Some people can say, you know, we won't go to sleep mad.

REAGAN: Well, we didn't do the testy part. We didn't say we won't go to sleep mad. I don't know, we just -- we argued so seldom, Larry.

KING: Do you realize how strange your marriage was? I mean, strange...

(LAUGHTER)

KING: ...is a bad word, different.

REAGAN: I guess it was, but some, who was I talking to this morning, somebody and we were talking about marriage. And I can't imagine marriage being any other way than that way that Ronnie's and mine was. And I guess that's unusual.

KING: And a little bit of a miracle, too, right?

REAGAN: I -- yes.

KING: Something in the Gods brought you together.

REAGAN: Fortunately.

KING: Did he like politics? Did he like talking about what this Senator in Michigan is saying about the Senator in Illinois?

REAGAN: Well, he didn't like that. That's gossipy.

KING: Didn't like gossip?

REAGAN: Didn't like gossip at all. Yes, he liked politics. He liked it because he felt that he could do something about all the things he felt strongly about that were going wrong.

KING: I remember him being surprised that when you travel, they actually have extra clothes for you.

REAGAN: I know. But that's -- you know, that's the key to Ronnie. He never would think in those terms about anything. Extra suits, the thing at the Kennedy Center with the membrane and the food.

KING: He said you open up the back door and they bring you food...

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: ...sitting in the theater.

REAGAN: It just never ever would have occurred to him.

KING: We'll be back with the remaining moments with Nancy Reagan on the occasion of the publication of the "Reagan Diaries." Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: "Saturday, October 6 through Sunday, October 7, 1984, well, the debate took place and I have to say I lost. I guess I crammed so hard on facts and figures in view of the absolutely dishonest things he's been saying in the campaign. I guess I flattened out.

"Wednesday, November 7, 1984, well, 49 states, 59 percent of the vote and 525 electoral votes, the press is now trying to prove it wasn't the landslide or should I say a mandate."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

R. REAGAN: These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc.

KING: "Wednesday, June 6, 1984, the 40th anniversary of the landing on D-Day."

R. REAGAN: These are the men who took the cliffs.

KING: "First up, was Pointe du Hoc, where 40 years ago, our rangers, 225, of them climbed the 100 foot sheer cliff to establish a position. Only 90 were still combatable by the second day. We met 62 who had returned to this anniversary. It was an emotional experience for everyone. Walter Cronkite did a 5-minute TV interview and then we flew to Omaha Beach. This was the heartbreaker. Row on row of white marble crosses and Stars of David, more than 9,000 of them."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with our remaining moments with Nancy Reagan on this evening as we salute the publication of the "Reagan Diaries." And we have with us, if you just joined us, one of the actual books of the actual diaries.

Who could forget the D-Day anniversary in 1984 and that speech at Normandy? What was it like for you? I know what it was like for him, all you've got to do is read about it. One of the great speeches ever made.

REAGAN: Yes. Well I was crying, everyone was crying, Ronnie was crying. I didn't really think he'd get through it. It was a very touching moment.

KING: When he describes all those crosses and Stars of David, white crosses and the white stars of David, eloquently writing, across the fields of Normandy. It breaks you up just reading it.

REAGAN: Yes it does. Yes it does. And imagine being there.

KING: What do you want -- what do you hope people take away from these diaries?

REAGAN: I hope they see the whole picture of Ronnie that they probably didn't have before and realize what a ...

KING: Special.

REAGAN: Special.

KING: They will. We even have an e-mail question because we said you are going to be on and people sent us. Kirk in New York: "After the loss of your beloved husband, have you been able to be happy? Do you feel spiritually connected to him?"

REAGAN: Oh, yes, I do. I do feel spiritually connected to him, very strongly so.

KING: Are you happy?

REAGAN: I can't say I'm happy, no.

KING: You have a lot of friends.

REAGAN: I do. Fortunately, I do. And they are wonderful friends. But you know, Larry, I said in the beginning I miss him more now than I did.

KING: It doesn't get better?

REAGAN: No it does not. Not for me. It may for a lot of people but not for me.

KING: You have so many friends that you can't be lonely. Or are you?

REAGAN: Well, I'm lonely because I don't have him. And you know, everywhere I look there's a reminder of him, which is the way I want it, really, in the house. I have pictures all around.

KING: And you go to the library?

REAGAN: And I go to the library. But how fortunate I am, a friend of mine whose husband had died said, "Nancy, you're so lucky. When George died, he didn't leave me anything that I could work on. You have a library and that must mean a lot to you." I never thought about it like that but it does mean a lot to me.

KING: You have something...

REAGAN: Yes.

KING: ...left by him.

REAGAN: That's right.

KING: Thanks, Nancy. KING: The "Reagan Diaries." Thanks for joining us. "Anderson Cooper 360" is next from Bel Air -- the Hotel Bel Air in Bel Air, California. Good night.

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