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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 June, 2004, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Ronald Reagan: In his own words
Former US president Ronald Reagan
Reagan came up with many succinct phrases
The former US president Ronald Reagan was sometimes known by his soubriquet the Great Communicator.

Over his career he was renowned for telling jokes, summing up issues with memorable lines, and making the odd gaffe.

Here is a selection of his quotes:

  • Government is not the solution, it's the problem.
    Inaugural address, 20 January, 1981

  • Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidise it.

  • A friend of mine was asked to a costume ball a short time ago. He slapped some egg on his face and went as a liberal economist.

  • Honey, I forgot to duck.
    To wife Nancy Reagan in the emergency room after being shot, 30 March, 1981

  • I hope you're all Republicans.
    To surgeons as he went into the operating theatre

    Former US president Ronald Reagan
    Reagan was telling jokes soon after being shot

  • When you see all that rhetorical smoke billowing up from the Democrats, well, ladies and gentlemen, I'd follow the example of their nominee: don't inhale.
    A reference to Bill Clinton at the Republican National Convention, 1992

  • I've noticed that everybody who is for abortion has already been born.

  • How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

  • My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.
    A joke, not realising a microphone was on, 1984

  • I urge you to beware the temptation of pride, the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.

  • I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written.

  • The other day someone told me the difference between a democracy and a people's democracy. It's the same difference between a jacket and a straitjacket.

  • If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalisation, come here to this gate ... open this gate ... tear down this wall.
    At the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, addressing a speech to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, June 1987

    Former US president Ronald Reagan dances with former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher
    Reagan was a big fan of Thatcher

  • We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free
    On the 40th anniversary of the Normandy landings, 6 June, 1984

  • She's the best man in England.
    On former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher

  • If I ache, it's because we are apart and yet that can't be because you are inside and a part of me, so we really aren't apart at all. Yet I ache but wouldn't be without the ache, because that would mean being without you and that I can't be because I love you.
    A letter to Nancy in 1963, quoted in her 2000 book I Love You, Ronnie

  • I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.
    Announcing his Alzheimer's disease, 5 November, 1994

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