Page last updated at 01:26 GMT, Saturday, 8 November 2008

Obama apologises to Nancy Reagan

Nancy Reagan in 2007
Mr Obama had "a warm conversation" with Nancy Reagan

US President-elect Barack Obama has apologised to former First Lady Nancy Reagan for a "careless" remark in his press conference about seances.

In his first news conference since winning the election, Mr Obama said he had spoken to all the living presidents ahead of taking office.

He then added: "I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about doing any seances."

Mrs Reagan was said to have consulted astrologers but did not hold seances.

Roosevelt 'conversation'

Mr Obama's spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said: "President-elect Barack Obama called Nancy Reagan today to apologise for the careless and off-handed remark he made during today's press conference.

"The President-elect expressed his admiration and affection for Mrs Reagan that so many Americans share and they had a warm conversation."

Mr Obama had responded to a question about whether he had consulted past presidents for guidance.

In his book, former White House chief of staff Donald T Regan said Mrs Reagan, now 87, had consulted an astrologer on her husband's schedule.

Ronald Reagan took the unusual step of commenting on the book, stating that "no policy or decision in my mind has ever been influenced by astrology".

In another book, Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward said that Mr Obama's defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton had imaginary conversations with former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt after consulting a spiritual adviser.

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