updated 6/14/2004 11:12:10 AM ET 2004-06-14T15:12:10

CHRIS MATTHEWS, ANCHOR:  It‘s 9 on the East Coast, 6:00 in the west where the Reagan family and close friends have gathered at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. 

They‘ll celebrate the life of Ronald Reagan, and at sunset the former president will be laid to rest. 

Pat Buchanan joins me right now.  He was communications director for President Reagan during the second term.  Life long—I think a life long conservative is fair to say, Pat? 

PAT BUCHANAN, FORMER REAGAN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR:  Yes, I‘m gold on the right, just like Ronald Reagan. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, when we end this tonight, and it will end with a burial, does anything end for the conservative movement?

BUCHANAN:  I think, Chris, the conservative movement frankly is not what it was.  It, in effect, came apart at the end of the Cold War when Ronald Reagan went home to California.  It is now a much more divided movement than it was. 

MATTHEWS:  What are the pieces?

BUCHANAN:  Well, there are the neoconservatives, who are very strong in the war, many economic conservatives are supply-siders like Jack Kemp that favor tax cuts.  There are the fiscal conservatives who believe the budget should be balanced. 

There are groups who are considered, like as myself, called paleoconservatives, or the old right.  We believe the borders need to be patrolled and believe you ought not to engage in foreign wars unless they‘re in America‘s vital interests. 

And so all of these have—they have not been together since Ronald Reagan went home and I think, frankly, that the...

MATTHEWS:  Where would you put the new line of the Republican Party in the west, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor?

BUCHANAN:  Well, you know, Arnold Schwarzenegger is very much, to me, is not a social conservative on issues like right to life, I don‘t believe.  And so he would not be among the social conservatives.  He‘s trying to...

MATTHEWS:  Is he a conservative?

BUCHANAN:  I think in the old days he would—he would not have been considered conservative.  He would be considered, I think, a Rockefeller Republican. 

MATTHEWS:  But let me just quibble with you, because a Rockefeller conservative believed in balancing the budget, pay as you go.  Schwarzenegger is making an effort, it seems to me, to try to be a tax cutter out there.  Isn‘t he? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, he is, but he‘s borrowed $15 billion.  He‘s got a bond issue, and we‘re going to come down the road and find out how long that‘s going to last. 

But he‘s a different type of conservative.  It‘s a different era. 

MATTHEWS:  He‘s certainly pro-business.  We‘re going to have quite an evening coming here right now, in very emotional terms, of course. 

We‘re—The service we‘re about to watch as the motorcade arrives not too long right now.

It‘s going to be a very interesting personal family part of this two-day, three-day ritual, now burial.  Michael Reagan is going to speak.  He was, of course, the son of Ronald Reagan and his first wife. 

And Patti Davis, who was, of course, quite a rebel back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, beautiful young woman, still is, quite a different breed than her mom or dad.  Very cultured conservative—liberal, rather. 

And of course, Ronald Reagan, Ron Reagan he‘s called by us, his colleagues here at MSNBC, very light-hearted guy, a great, fun guy, of the theater, really, and the ballet.  A man of show business like his father.  A lot of fun to be around, I‘ve got to tell you. 

I‘m very curious about his remarks.  I would bet they‘ll have some wit and a lot of poignancy, because the father and son relationship is something else, as we all know. 

BUCHANAN:  Both sons have tremendous talents.  Michael Reagan is—I believe is syndicated on hundreds of stations as a radio talk show host, and he‘s very conservative, as young Ron seems to me to be liberal. 

And so it will be a dramatic contrast to see him, Michael Reagan, being the son, of course, of—the adopted son of Jane Wyman and President Reagan, and Ron being the son of Nancy. 

MATTHEWS:  Simon and Garfunkel.  There‘s—there‘s a group that spoke of revolution.  Remember the bride and Mrs. Robinson and all those songs we associated with the big cultural changes of the late 1960s.  But here they are, adapted, amalgamated, part of our national songbook. 


MATTHEWS: There they are.

We‘re watching the motorcade, as you can all see, as well as I can.  It‘s about to slow down and move into the tributary there that takes it up to the mountaintop site of the Reagan Library. 

Again, I have to tell you, the Nixon Library has its own particular quality.  It‘s down there in the orange groves where Nixon came from in Whittier, in that area of Yorba Linda. 

This one is very much a Hollywood, a cowboy Hollywood setting, a beautiful cowboy setting up in the hills, where they used to make the cowboy movies, a great place to be if you‘re Ronald Reagan. 

BUCHANAN:  Yes.  I talked to Ann McLaughlin, who was the secretary of labor, just before she came on your show.  And I was asking her to contrast the two.  And she—well, of course, the Nixon Library is magnificent.  It‘s understated, but it‘s beautiful.  But the setting up here above the Pacific...

MATTHEWS:  Look at the people, Pat. 

It‘s much grander.  It‘s much more hopeful.  Much brighter than the Nixon Library, brighter than all the other libraries, I must say. 

But every presidential library—I‘ve been to the Kennedy, I‘ve been to the Truman, they all have their—Gerry Ford‘s, all have their wonderful statement to make of the legacy of the man who they‘re honoring.

Here you see the advance cars moving in.  We figured about seven minutes now that the motorcade will have arrived just within seven minutes and we‘ll have the service beginning. 

It is quite a beautiful service.  The “Battle Hymn of the Republic” will be played, “Amazing Grace.”  That has been a major song of these last several days. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, it was just powerfully done over at the cathedral today.  And the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” as well.  Again it was—you could hear the songs all over the church when the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was played. 

MATTHEWS:  Pat, look at the crowd here.  And it‘s one of those weird little circumstances.  They counted the number of people who visited the library when Ronald Reagan lie in state before he went back east, and 105,000 people came through.  It was tricky to get here.  It‘s not easy to get up here.  You have to get up and take a bus, a commuter bus. 

In Washington, D.C., at the capitol, the same number.  In fact, it was 104,600.  Isn‘t that—This is like a Florida result, you know?  But it‘s just an interesting fact, that it was so close on both coasts.  Maybe that proved the rightness of the symmetry of having both coasts use their sites for this ritual, burial.  The same number of people.  And I think it‘s about as many as could have gotten by in the length of time they had. 

BUCHANAN:  Exactly.  They go through—as I understand it.  I believe they did here in single file.  You went out and circled around the casket and then go out. 

I talked to a young lady down there who arrived down there at the capital at 10, and told me with great happiness at 3:30 she went by the casket. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, it‘s what you do that matters.  And they put their time in. 

We‘re going to go right now to Michael Okwu, who‘s on the parade route.  They‘re about four miles from the site now—Michael.

MICHAEL OKWU, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Chris, thousands of people here, many of whom have been waiting for as long as the past 12 hours or so, waiting to get that last glimpse of President Ronald Reagan in his caravan of cars. 

We understand that there may be about four to five minutes from where we‘re standing now.  And once he passes here, of course, he‘ll make his way over to the presidential library in Simi Valley.  That‘s another four to five miles from where we‘re standing. 

So all of this coming to a head fairly soon.  He‘s in the motorcade, of course, with some state troopers and also followed by a fleet of at least a dozen or so limousines carrying family, as well as dignitaries on what will clearly be remembered as an historic day—Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  What‘s the temperature out there right now?  We‘re curious. 

It‘s been pretty sweaty back here in the east. 

OKWU:  It‘s fairly sweaty out here as well, Chris, but it‘s warm.  It‘s wonderful.  It‘s roughly about 70 degrees, sort of a cool but sunny day here in Southern California. 

I‘ve been saying all along this afternoon that the sense here is not of people mourning President Reagan but, rather, of something of sort of a collective display of patriotism.  It feels more like a neighborhood picnic, and the weather certainly is helping that—Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  I feel that back here, as well.  Don‘t you, Pat?

BUCHANAN:  I do.  Toward the end of the week, definitely.  There was a lot more sadness early in the week, and you get the sense more of a celebration now very much as much as a funeral. 

MATTHEWS:  I‘ll tell you, knowing her a bit as I do, Nancy Reagan is going to, once she recovers from these very difficult hours and, say in two or three days from now, I think she‘ll be going through the clippings, she‘ll be going through the video and she‘ll be so happy to see this turnout for her husband, the late president.  Because it‘s so dramatic.  It‘s so unexpectedly positive. 

BUCHANAN:  You know, Chris, we were—I was in there and Nancy Reagan was in there and you were doing—watching it from television and from what I‘ve heard people say of the pictures and the way it was done, you know, I was talking to my misses.  And we have to get a tape so we can see it the way you folks saw it with all of the television shots of Gorbachev.


BUCHANAN:  And up close of the presidents, much closer than we got to them when we were in the church. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, the Reagans would understand that, wouldn‘t they, Pat?  You‘ve got to see it on television to know how it worked, because the fact is that you don‘t get that perspective in the crowd. 

My wife there.  Kathleen was there today, and she was telling me she was in the highest balcony of the church today looking down.  She said spectacular view, but she said, “What did it look like?” 

And I think we are a television viewing crowd in this country. 

Let me you who‘s going to be at the service tonight so you can all take a peak at them as they show up on our screen if we miss them.  Of course, Jerry Weintraub, the big movie producer, big time.  Lou Cannon, probably the greatest Reagan biographer, wouldn‘t you say? 

BUCHANAN:  I think he‘s the best Reagan...

MATTHEWS:  Most honest, right down the middle.

Bo Derek, the movie actress.  George Deukmejian, the former Republican governor of the state.  Right. 

Tommy Lasorda.  I‘ve got to say one of the most popular baseball figures in a hundred years.

BUCHANAN:  Sure, sure.

MATTHEWS:  Norman Lear, “All in the Family,” of course.  And “The Jeffersons,” my personal favorite.

Lee Annenberg, of course, and we heard earlier today that Walter Annenberg had been set to be one of the pallbearers today.  But of course, he was survived by—by the president, Ronald Reagan.

Betsy Bloomingdale, a very close friend of Nancy Reagan.  Michael and Carolyn Deaver.  Well, we know that.  They were good friends.  Merv Griffin, what a guy he is.  Earl Jorgenson, another member of the old kitchen cabinet.  Boy, they‘ve all survived.  These people kept up their health. 

Fred Ryan, he‘s head of the Reagan Library Association. 

BUCHANAN:  Walked in with Mike Deaver.  He was one of the five honorary pallbearers in the cathedral today.  So he went back out on Air Force One.

MATTHEWS:  We‘ve got Arnold Schwarzenegger.  We‘ve seen him with Maria Shriver, the first lady of California.  George Shultz, there‘s another grand fellow of American history, I must say. 

BUCHANAN:  George Shultz, I saw him in the cathedral. 

MATTHEWS:  He is in great shape.  He is an amazing fellow.

Hugh Sidey, probably the most well known and most respected presidential chronicler.  In fact his weekly column “The Presidency” has been—well, I‘m not going to use the cliche.  Why not?  Required reading.  People always read it.

BUCHANAN:  He‘s a beautiful essayist.

MATTHEWS:  He‘s a beautiful writer. 

BUCHANAN:  And he knew every president very closely.  He‘s one of the best liked journalists in this city. 

MATTHEWS:  I think he liked all the presidents but Jimmy Carter. 

Let‘s listen now here, Pat.

What a beautiful place.  This is the kind of scene that makes people want to come out and visit California and maybe stay.  The crowd here, look at the flags along the way, the little flags, the big flags, the cheering, the clapping. 

I assume that Nancy Reagan must open the window to hear this.  This is the real thing.  This is adulation.  And as I said, not funereal.  Look at the people.

This isn‘t the Franklin Roosevelt funeral in the war.  This is about a man who lived to a ripe old age.

And it‘s a lot of relief here when you‘re an Alzheimer‘s caregiver.  I‘ve got to tell you from experience.  After many, many years of care giving, when you lose that contact and when it finally happens, I think people say good life, good work. 

BUCHANAN:  Contrast this, Chris, with what you saw as well as I did at the burial of Jack Kennedy, the day of drums and the drive over to Arlington Cemetery.  That was a somber, somber moment.  But this is...

MATTHEWS:  You know why?  He was half the guy‘s age.  Jack was 46. 

BUCHANAN:  And that had elements of tragedy.  But this, again, this is a welcome home.

MATTHEWS:  The number of flags and I don‘t think these were handed out, these flags.  I think these people got a hold of them.  This is not a campaign event.  This is a tribute. 

And look at the people.  What a gleaming picture of America there. 

People coming out just because they want to be there.  No other reason.  Just to be there and, I guess to say years from now, “I was there to pay tribute to the great Ronald Reagan.  I was there that day.”  Tell your kids, you know, “I was there when he came back to the library to be buried.  I‘ve got to tell you what it was like.  Everybody was there with flags and cheering.  It was almost like a picnic, people were so happy because of the legacy of this man.” 

It‘s different.  It‘s so different than Kennedy.  It‘s different than the hard faces we saw when Roosevelt—from the old newsreels. 

Let‘s listen to some of this music now. 


MATTHEWS:  I mentioned some of the people that are going to be at the service.  Very well known people here.

Margaret Thatcher, of course.  Baroness Thatcher will be there.  And she spoke through that video so vividly today. 

Charlie Wick is one of the pallbearers.  He was head of the United States Information Agency under Ronald Reagan and a very close friend. 

Former governor and Mrs. Pete Wilson, another Republican governor of California, recent vintage.  Let‘s see.  Richard Reardon, the former L.A.  mayor, very popular fellow. 

Pat Sajak, “Wheel of Fortune,” one of the most likable guys, I have to tell you, in this country and for many years has been that case.  Tom Selleck, I said played General Eisenhower in the recent A&E production.  I loved him in that.  I think he was great.

Nancy Sinatra, Tina Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Jr.  Quite a number of well-known people, pals of the Reagans for years, these people. 

And of course, the sad story is lot of the people that Reagan hung around with in his happy Hollywood adjacent, you know, James Stewart, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, William Holden, the best man at his wedding, people like that are gone.  He survived them all. 

BUCHANAN:  He survived them all.  It‘s astonishing. 

Pete Wilson, incidentally, was one of those eulogists at Richard Nixon‘s funeral down at the Nixon Library. 

MATTHEWS:  Did Nixon think you‘d be too hot for the occasion?  How did they communicate that to you, Pat?  You would have been great. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, I‘ll tell you who did the eulogy.  It was Bill Clinton, Bob Dole.  Bob Dole was wonderful.  Pete Wilson and Henry Kissinger, who was outstanding. 

Henry was there today.  He‘s—Henry‘s looking his years.  And he was there.  And it was quite an assembly. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, one of the great things I‘ve had in my life is being in this chair on HARDBALL on MSNBC.  All these people I‘ve known from before, I get to meet them all again.  They all come through here, like you, Pat.  You‘re working here now.  You have to come through here. 

But the fact is that it‘s a wonderful place to be, on this program, and maybe even to watch it, to be able to see all these people close up, very close up. 

And I‘ll say it again.  One of the reasons why Ronald Reagan will have a great legacy is because the people who served him continue to serve him.  Not just Mike Deaver and Nancy Reagan and the family but you folks.  I mean, all the cabinet members are all out here.  There‘s nobody who seemed to be mad at him and stay home. 

BUCHANAN:  It was a great, great reunion of all of the Reagan people. 

We all—I said, they didn‘t let us into the church.  We waited outside the church for about 45 minutes.  I got there around 9 in the morning.  I think they opened it up at 9:45.

And as you walked the line to go to the end of the line, there were people calming out your name and you would call out their name.  And it was like working a rope line down there. 

And it was—and people were not—the sadness came out inside the cathedral when that casket rolled up that center aisle that—And everybody had their hand over their heart. 

MATTHEWS:  There‘s Richard Reardon.  We‘re looking at—We‘ll see him in a moment. 

Let‘s go back to Michael Okwu along the parade route—Michael.

OKWU:  Chris, we now see some motorcycles rolling by, some of the state troopers here from California, the advance team before the motorcade makes its way over here. 

Earlier you were talking about the fact that there were so many kids out here, and that‘s definitely the case.  It‘s almost Rockwellian.  You see all these flags.  If it wasn‘t for all the helicopters and the Secret Service filtering through this crowd occasionally, one would think it was a picture straight out of Norman Rockwell. 

But of course, it is going to be an historic event.  A lot of the people we‘ve been talking to, Chris, all day, and as I mentioned, some who have been here for the past 12 hours or so, said not only do they respect Ronald Reagan politically but many of them respected him as a man.  And they wanted to make sure that they could pay their last respects here and basically take a little wedge of history with them—Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, and Pat, one of the reasons I think we‘re seeing a political time-out this week, and it probably, as you say, will end this weekend if not sooner, is the recognition of two things. 

Tens of millions of Democrats voted for Ronald Reagan.  It had to be the case, because he carried 49 states.  And some people think—Ed Rollins told me once that he carried 50 states, but they threw back Minnesota as sort of a courtesy to Walter Mondale.  That‘s one thing.

And the second thing is in 1994, 10 years ago this fall, the Democrats tried to run against the legacy of Ronald Reagan.  Remember?  And they got shellacked.  They lost the entire U.S. Congress for the first time in 50 years, and I think they got the message that better not mess with this guy‘s legacy. 

Let‘s listen. 


MATTHEWS:  Listen to the crowd yelling.  And they‘re really yelling at Nancy, I think.  They want her to know that they‘re there.  I think that‘s a fair estimate. 

I‘m here with Pat Buchanan, who was communications director for the president, in the presidency of Ronald Reagan.  He worked with him—right? -- every day. 

BUCHANAN:  I mentioned when I first went to work with Reagan, I said, “Mr. President, 49 states.  That‘s not bad at all.”  I said, “You only lost Minnesota.” 

He said, “Pat, we didn‘t lose Minnesota.”

MATTHEWS:  So, Rollins was right. 

BUCHANAN:  I think the president thought they threw it to help Fritz Mondale out. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that‘s the story, that he did carry 50 states and—really and he let one go by as a courtesy.  Leaving one for Mr. Manners, I guess you‘d say. 

But this—he‘s got all 50 states this week, too.  I think that‘s a fair estimate. 

A Hollywood ending, right?

BUCHANAN:  It is.  Moving very slowly now. 

MATTHEWS:  I think something‘s yet to come.  I there‘s going to be some more drama in the next half hour to an hour.  I think the family members are going to be very personal. 

I think there‘s been a rebellion in that family went on for years, like it has in so many families, especially because of politics and generational struggle and just different ways of looking at things between parent and child. 

And the kids are now in their 40‘s.  I can use the word kids, maybe, because George Bush Sr. said today, “I can call people in their 40‘s kids,” but not yet for me, I don‘t think. 

But there‘s also the wonderful spectacle of military men and women doing their job like this guy, just doing their job, showing dignity.  It‘s like everybody who comes to Washington you‘ve got to encourage them to go to the tomb of the unknown soldiers, because it‘s a chance to see these guys do it like this with all the spit and polish and dignity. 

BUCHANAN:  Ronald Reagan, who once told me he served in the horse cavalry during the war.  He loved the military, and he loved going down to the bases, Paris Island.  We went down there with him.  And he loved the men and women in the military. 

And someone mentioned today, I think former President Bush, of the tremendous grief of Ronald and President Reagan went down there and met the families members of the friends who were killed in the Beirut—the Beirut bombing. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that was one of Ronald Reagan‘s mistakes.  I think he recognized that.

BUCHANAN:  I think.

MATTHEWS:  Putting troops into harm‘s way for no clear mission, and no one ever figured out what that mission was supposed to be.

BUCHANAN:  Well, I think he thought they were going to train the Lebanese army and have a new ally. 

That‘s “Faith of our Fathers,” isn‘t it?


MATTHEWS:  I‘m looking at the schedule of the program for the interment service which is about to begin, Pat Buchanan.  And it‘s interesting to just see it for the first time. 

February 6, 1911; June 5, 2004.  This man, Ronald Reagan, whose life we‘ve been talking about now for a couple of days, was 30 years old when Pearl Harbor was hit.  This guy saw a lot. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, he said that...

MATTHEWS:  He remembers World War I, being born in 1911. 

BUCHANAN:  Model T Fords driving down the street and he met men who walked on the moon. 

MATTHEWS:  We‘re going to have a lot of music from the U.S. Air Force band.  We‘ve been hearing from them.  They‘re called the U.S. Air Force Band from the Golden West. 

The Rev. Michael Wenning will be giving the invocation.  We‘re going to hear the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”  We‘re going to hear the words of the remembrance and respect from Michael Reagan, Patti Davis, Ronald Prescott Reagan, the three sons—two sons and daughter from the late president.

And once again, the Rev. John Danforth, former senator from Missouri, will be presiding and reading scripture.  “Amazing Grace” by a solo bagpipe.  Once again, another tribute to his Irish roots. 

The Reverend Michael Wenning will give a brief witness on life, death and ever lasting life. 

And a 21-gun salute, as well.  I love to hear that.  Heard one earlier today.  Three volleys of musketry are going to be heard.  “Taps” will be played by the Army Band bugler. 

There will be a flyover by the U.S. Navy.  “America the Beautiful” will be played.  There will be a flag—this is the moment, the flag presentation by the commander of the USS Ronald Reagan. 

Let‘s listen here. 


MATTHEWS:  I think there‘s a sense, a moment right now that‘s emerging.  Everything is still out here right now. 

The service is going to last about an hour tonight, at dusk here in California.  It‘s back—obviously, 9:30 back here on the East Coast.  But this so—laid out so well, a Friday, great day for any funeral and, of course, having it at dusk.  So powerful to have it at this time of day, of course.

BUCHANAN:  That‘s Nancy Reagan and Jack Danforth, the Reverend Danforth, who‘s going to be the new ambassador.  They were up there early this morning, Chris, back here Eastern Time.  It‘s getting to 11 p.m. our time.  They‘ve traveled all across this country.  Very weary. 

MATTHEWS:  What‘s his posting going to be?


MATTHEWS:  Really?

BUCHANAN:  Jack Danforth.


MATTHEWS:  We are back again at the Reagan Presidential Library, which is going to go down in history, I‘ll tell you.

Everybody in this country knows where this library is now.  And here we have this service about to commence as the motorcade carrying the late president‘s body comes up this beautiful hill. 

Pat, I have been up there a number of times.  You have been up there.  And going up that hill is going back into cowboy country, scenic, beautiful America, California country, in the scrub overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  And you see the library up on that promontory right there.  And, today, we were at the promontory at the National Cathedral moving to—from an East Coast promontory to a West Coast promontory, the best land for these events and these sites.

And it‘s worth a trip.  You see it, by the way—I haven‘t mentioned it—when you go into the library of Ronald Reagan, it not just a bunch of books, you know, the old cowboy costume, you know, the great sort of relics from his movie career all over the place, saddles, things like that, a lot of pride in how he got there, no embarrassment about being a movie star, of course.

BUCHANAN:  None whatsoever. 

MATTHEWS:  There comes the motorcade moving slowly now. 

Well, we‘re about to commence.  The motorcade is arriving at the Presidential Library of Ronald Reagan.  I was just thinking that, at the very time the Reagans built this library, they thought about this and this moment and how it would have to come and they would have to have a burial plot for both of them. 

And they had to prepare everything.  And they began, at that point, I think to prepare this week.  From what I learned earlier today, Ronald Reagan picked all the pallbearers, including Walter Annenberg, who passed away before him, and picked out all the music.  All the pieces of music today were Ronald Reagan‘s selections, the speakers, selected by Ronald Reagan, Brian Mulroney, Margaret Thatcher, the two President Bushes. 

Of course, it was probably written in “the current president,” whoever it would be.  He had no idea when he lost his faculties that his vice president would be succeeded subsequently or ultimately by the son.

BUCHANAN:  Reagan was at the Nixon funeral, but you could see there that he was not the same man you knew.

MATTHEWS:  What year was that, Pat? 

BUCHANAN:  It was 1994. 

MATTHEWS:  Same year.

BUCHANAN:  He was also, I believe, at the—as I recall, at Mrs.  Nixon‘s funeral, which was a year or so, two years earlier, where the eulogy was given by President Nixon himself, not during the service, but he was completely broken up.  And then he got up inside with all the old staff and just spoke about his wife.  It was very moving, but...


I think Nixon was shocked at the tremendous public reaction to the death of Pat Nixon, the tremendous regard she was held in.  I remember that very much, Pat. 

And here we have the hearse moving up now toward—towards the library itself.  You can see, it‘s a winding road that goes up to the top of the mountain there.  It is right on the top, the promontory.  That is where the library sits, a beautiful place, as I said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  March.  Forward march.   

MATTHEWS:  Well, we are about to begin the hour-long service attention Reagan Presidential Library, which will precede the interment of the former president, the late president.  As I said, we are going to hear talks now from the children of the Reagans, Michael Reagan, Patti Davis, and Ron Reagan, who is with us so many nights here on MSNBC.

Pat Buchanan joins me.  He worked for Ronald Reagan as his director of communications. 

A lot being communicated here, isn‘t there? 

BUCHANAN:  There certainly is.  And I guess they‘re just going in right now.  That is Ron Jr. I believe I saw there.  Of course, it‘s not really junior.  It is Ronald Prescott Reagan. 

But it is a family that—they went through the ‘60s, as you mentioned, Chris, which caused a lot of turmoil in an awful lot of families.  And it‘s a family that has come together after Ronald Reagan was taken ill. 

MATTHEWS:  So much of the day has been personally designed, engineered, if you will, by Ronald Reagan in the time before he lost his faculties in the mid-‘90s.  He designated these people to be his pallbearers. 

Of course, Merv Griffin, the very popular entertainer and hotel owner now.  Fred Ryan, who is the head of the Presidential Library, he‘s the very tall man with the darker hair.  And Charles Wick, who is a real close pal of the Reagans, a man who always has a joke for the occasion, a very funny guy, a good guy, a man from show business himself, he‘s one of the pallbearers. 

And, of course, Michael Deaver—I will be seeing Michael tomorrow.  Michael is a great—of all the loyalists I‘ve ever come across, it‘s hard to find somebody as loyal as Mike Deaver and Carolyn Deaver, his wife.  They‘ve devoted their lives to the Reagans.  And he is, of course, one of the pallbearers. 

But it is going to be so interesting, Pat, to hear the kids.  I just want to hear—I‘m sure they have been thinking about this a long time. 

BUCHANAN:  They have.

And, as you mentioned, young Ron is quite a wit, very bright.  And Michael is a staunch conservative, devout Christian.  Ron is more of a—he‘s more of a 1960s generation, as is his sister Patti.  It will be very interesting to see how they remember their father. 

MATTHEWS:  It sure will.

Let‘s listen up now. 

Well, we are looking at a gathering of 700 people, many of them from Hollywood, people like Merv Griffin, Pat Sajak, Tom Selleck, people we have gotten to know, governors, former governors, Deukmejian and Wilson and the current governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and his wife, Maria Shriver, a lot of well-known people in that crowd. 

And, of course, we see her in the middle there, Margaret Thatcher the great, one of the great prime ministers in the history of the United Kingdom.  She came out all the way here, this final leg of the trip, to show her complete respect for the man that she eulogized so beautifully and historically at the service at the National Cathedral.  What a woman she is. 

And I can‘t wait to hear from my pal Ron.  I can‘t wait to hear what he has to say.  What a message he has.  Imagine carrying the name Ronald Reagan.  I know he is Prescott Reagan.  And they didn‘t want to make him a junior, but, God, it is still a powerful burden to carry.  From the day he was born, his father was a celebrity. 

BUCHANAN:  Indeed he was.  And young Ron was a bit of a rebel.

I remember going out to meet Ronald Reagan the first time at Pacific Palisades.  And we had a meeting there before the convention in ‘76, and Mrs. Reagan.  And they called.  And Ronald Reagan then, he was ex-governor, had been asked to go out and say a few words to young Ron, who was in the yard.  And I think it was a disciplinary matter. 


BUCHANAN:  But it broke up this meeting there, you know?  It was the first time I had sat down really with ex-Governor Reagan, who was then thinking of—hoping that he was going to get the nomination.  And Mrs.  Reagan was doing most of the questioning. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s watch the casket come out. 



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Forward march. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Please pray with me. 

Eternal and Almighty God, we began this day and it seemed the heavens were weeping as we paid our farewell to your servant, Ronald Reagan.  We eulogized him.  We worshiped under the arches of that stately cathedral.  We have come from sea to shining sea to this soil which he loved so much and where his body will remain. 

Gracious Lord God, turn our tears of sorrow into the hope of the resurrection.  Comfort our hearts and especially the Reagan family and the nation, for we celebrate his life.  And we do through Jesus Christ, our Lord.




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