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Reagan In His Own Words

Nicknamed "the Great Communicator," Ronald Reagan was both one of the best political orators of the 20th Century and a self-deprecating wit. Following is a collection of some classic Reaganisms.

• "I did turn 75 today -- but remember, that's only 24 Celsius."

• "It's true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?"

• "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."

• To wife Nancy after John Hinckley, Jr.'s 1981 assassination attempt: "Honey, I forgot to duck."

• During a 1984 debate with Walter Mondale: "I'm not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."

• "You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jellybeans."

• "Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."

• In testing the microphone for his weekly radio address, Reagan declared, ''My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today I've just signed legislation which outlaws Russia forever. The bombing begins in five minutes.''

• "Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

• "Mr. President," TV reporter Sam Donaldson yelled out at Reagan after a 1982 press conference, "In talking about the continuing recession tonight, you have blamed the mistakes of the past and you've blamed Congress. Does any of the blame belong to you?" Reagan responded, "Yes, because for many years I was a Democrat."

• "Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it's not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work -- work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it."

• "Well, this administration's objective will be a healthy, vigorous, growing economy that provides equal opportunity for all Americans, with no barriers born of bigotry or discrimination."

• "Above all we must realize that no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."

• "I hope you're all Republicans," he told doctors who were about to operate on his bullet wounds.

• "Did we forget that government is the people's business, and every man, woman and child becomes a shareholder with the first penny of taxes paid?"

• "We do not have a trillion dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough. We have a trillion dollar debt because we spend too much."

• "But with these considerations firmly in mind, I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete."

• "Abortion is advocated only by persons who themselves have been born."

• "Politics is a very rewarding profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book."

• "America is too great for small dreams."

•  "We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we can always be free."

• "Government growing beyond our consent had become a lumbering giant, slamming shut the gates of opportunity, threatening to crush the very roots of our freedom."