Memorable quotes

  • "I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Breen."
    When someone tried to turn off his microphone at a Reagan-sponsored debate during 1980 New Hampshire primaries.
  • "We have to move ahead, but we are not going to leave anyone behind."
    Republican National Convention, July 1980
  • "There you go again."
    Responding to criticism during debate with President Carter, October 1980.
  • "Government is not the solution, it's the problem."
    Inaugural address, Jan. 20, 1981
  • "All of us need to be reminded that the federal government did not create the states, the states created the federal government."
    Inaugural address, Jan. 20, 1981
  • "Honey, I forgot to duck."
    To Nancy Reagan after he was shot by a would-be assassin, March 30, 1981.
  • "It's just plain common sense that there be a waiting period to allow local law enforcement officials to conduct background checks on those who wish to buy a handgun."
    Endorsing the Brady handgun control bill in March 1991
  • "I was pleased last year to proclaim 1983 the year of the Bible. But, you know, a group called the ACLU severely criticized me for doing that. Well, I wear their indictment like a badge of honor."
    January 1984
  • "I've always stated that the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth is a government program."
    April 1986
  • "A [nuclear weapons] freeze now would be a very dangerous fraud, for that is merely the illusion of peace. The reality is that we must find peace through strength."
    Speech to the National Association of Evangelicals, March 1983. (He wrote six years later that "I could not ... today call the Soviet Union an evil empire")
  • "If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe ... come here to this gate ... open this gate ... tear down this wall."
    June 1987 speech at Brandenberg Gate in Berlin, addressed to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
  • "Sending the Marines to Beirut was the source of my greatest regret and greatest sorrow."
    On the Lebanon bombing that killed 241 servicemen in 1983, in his 1990 book, An American Life
  • "We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them ... as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'"
    After Challenger shuttle disaster, Jan. 28, 1986
  • "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."
    Joke while testing microphone, Aug. 11, 1984
  • "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."
    Nov. 5, 1994, announcing he had Alzheimer's disease
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