Saturday, August 18, 2007
Longtime Reagan aide Mike Deaver dies
Mike Deaver, one of the key members of Ronald Reagan's inner circle from the Gipper's days as Governor of California until early in Reagan's second term in office, died today in Maryland at the age of 69, succumbing to pancreatic cancer.
Deaver served as Reagan's "image man" for years, and of all the Reagan aides, he was the closest to Nancy Reagan.
Deaver took the blame for the president's ill-fated speech at the Bitburg Cemetery in Germany during ceremonies honoring German war dead. As an advance man, Deaver visited the cemetery in the winter of 1984, but the gravestones were covered were freshly fallen snow.
In 1987, Deaver was convicted of perjury resulting from congressional testimony he gave, he did not serve time in prison. The Reagans broke ties with Deaver, although Nancy and Mike settled their differences in 1990s.
It was in the 1990s that Deaver joined the public relation firm of Edelman in Washington, where he was as vice chairman.
Deaver and a partner, upon Governor Reagan's departure from Sacramento, formed a public relations firm with just one client: Ronald Wilson Reagan. Deaver was a driving force in getting Reagan's mid-1970s five-days-a-week radio commentary spots to be syndicated nationally, along with twice-a-month newspaper columns. Although he was hardly unknown quantity, the broadcasts and columns kept Reagan in the public eye, and were among the building blocks of Reagan's eventual ascension to the presidency.
Even while the fairness doctrine was in place, liberals had good reason to fear a conservative voice on the radio.
Mike Deaver, rest in peace.
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