Sunday, June 6, 2004

Fans remember

Reagan was a favorite in the Queen City

Anticipation of the Reds game Saturday evening mingled with reflections on Ronald Reagan among people outside Great American Ball Park.

About an hour before the Expos-Reds baseball game, people were purchasing last-minute souvenirs and water, lining up to buy tickets, and waiting for friends to show up before entering the stadium.

Some hadn't heard yet about Reagan's death, announced at 4:10 p.m.

Mac Hansing, of Cincinnati, puffing a cigar outside the park, said he was a Reagan supporter since 1964 and actually met him in 1968 at Yale University.

"I was politically active back then, and he came to speak to the college Republicans on campus," Hansing said.

"He seemed like a really intelligent man."

Hansing said optimism would be Reagan's legacy to the American presidency.

"I loved that he was the Great Communicator," he said. "I think he brought a positive sense to the conservative ideology."

Cincinnati resident Lex Dove munched on a bag of peanuts as he spoke of the former president.

Dove said he was sorry Reagan died, but didn't always agree with his policies.

"I think he had a tremendous impact on destabilizing unions, and I'm a Democrat, so I obviously didn't like that," Dove said. "But I think he said what he meant and meant what he said."

Gregg Baecker, 25, of Columbus said he was "just a kid" during Reagan's presidency.

"From what I've learned, he left a mess behind," said Baecker, while waiting in line to buy tickets. He cited the federal budget deficit during the Reagan years and the Iran-contra "fiasco."

Kelley White, of Cincinnati, said she's a Democrat but feels for all Alzheimer's patients and their families.

"It's probably for the best," she said. "I hope the family is coping well with their loss."

Although she's a Democrat, White said, Reagan did a good job as president.

Julie Bedford, of Covington, said Reagan was the greatest president ever.

"I absolutely adored Ronald Reagan," she said.

"He's the only person on Earth that I would have ever liked to have met. ... Now that opportunity has passed."

Bedford said Reagan "single-handedly brought down Communism."

"He also helped to build us up after Watergate, so we could once again say we are one great nation under God."

RONALD REAGAN: 1911-2004
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Nation mourns loss of Reagan
Concern was for common man
Fans remember
He defined brand of conservatism
Gipper faded into twilight
'It is due to him that we are free'
Neither bullet nor cancer could dampen his spirit
Nancy spent 50 years at his side
GOP reactions
'Soul mates' dominated '80s politics
Web sites offer variety

The inspiring legacy of Ronald Reagan