He was blunt. He was rude. He was arrogant. He was in your face, but always "to" your face. And, in a Washington world that kowtowed to power, he kowtowed to nobody.
He had a famous Irish temper, but a wicked Irish grin.
He had gathered riches, from rags. He was a “nobody,” who became a “somebody.”
He endured my stupid questions as I was just starting my career. And he never failed to help me get things straight so I wouldn't prematurely end my career.
He was prickly, but he was passionate.
He was hell-bent, but he was honorable.
He was devilish, but he was decent.
He put a company called Merrill Lynch on the map and the biggest tax cut in American history on Ronald Reagan's desk.
They said he could sell ice to the Eskimos.
He was a rich guy who knew the little guy. A man who didn't like deficits, but didn't like Americans not working more. A man who knew taxes were too high and Washington was too greedy.
He was a man who took on the powers that be and lost. An outspoken Treasury secretary who became an even more outspoken White House chief of staff.
He was Ronald Reagan's confidante, but he didn't get along with Ronald Reagan's wife. He lost his influence and with the Iran-Contra scandal, he lost his job. But he did not lose his sense of humor. He would joke he was but a bit player in the Reagan revolution. I say now, he was a big reason why there was a Reagan revolution. Because before there was Bob Rubin, there was Don Regan.
He was a man from Wall Street, who understood Wall Street. The first Treasury guy to tell a president, win over the investor crowd and you'll win over the entire crowd. Ronald Reagan was smart enough to take that advice. Donald Regan was blunt enough to give it.
Ronald Reagan is a hero now. Donald Regan is a big reason why.
A man who explained a revolution to me, when I couldn't grasp it, and shook the world of Washington to its core, so all could see it.
So here's to you, Donald T. Regan. May history treat you more kindly than you were treated then.
You left this world today, but this reporter won't forget you any day.
You didn't just make a difference to the Gipper, you made a difference to the world.
And I will miss you.
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