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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 6, 2009 8:00pm-8:30pm EDT

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blair, and nelson mandela. interviews by mary matalin. a. .
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>> on wednesday on the rotunda unveiling the statue of ronald reagan featured by the state of california. what is your reaction as an artist to have a statue on display in the us capitol? >> i have been trying to come up with words and i haven't. the moment it hit me was last thursday night when we installed it. the crane was lifting the box that contained the statue through the columns of the capitol. it was incredible. i found myself shaking my head. >> you looked at it for how long? >> well, it had some scheduling uniqueness. we worked very fast.
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we had to slow down and work very fast. this statue took about a year and then in storage waiting for scheduling. >> how different does it look as opposed to your studio? >> when i am close to it or had been touching it, he was clay. so he looked very different. now he is the dark classic bronze. in terms of setting the capitol is a lot better than my studio. there is one view that caught my breath from the doorway. if you stand past him and look up into the dome it is incredible. >> how long your work will be viewed by so many people from around the world. >> that is where i tried to ignore that pressure. trying to represent president
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reagan is one thing. to represent him for history is another. for all of the future visitors and et cetera. those are the things that are hitting me now. >> how did you get the commission? >> a competition. i read the paper and noticed that california had decided to swap out a statue. i realized that would be a new statue. i tracked down the legislature and wrote him a note saying i would love to have my name in. >> do you know how many artists competed? >> i was purposefully o'baliffius to that and how many were in the finals. >> when did you know you had the commission? >> summer 2007. >> and how duget to work? >> that was the most unique thing about this project as the other ones. i did my two-foot model of what
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i thought the statue would look like. soft clay. it got there. and then i was asked to make some changes to it. so i went to the basement of the reagan library and worked in their workshop. that was a fantastic experience. just down the hall were his archives. i could look at his clothes and his shoes. i changed the pose and the exegs on the spot all before knowing that i had the job. >> what decision did you make about the mood you would depict him in. >> there is a lot of debate on that. it is obviously history and that location is serious. but there is also the personality and memory of the man as he was. from all of the snapshots you can think of in history he is
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smiling, big, broad smile. my attempt is to make an exegs just prior to that smile. there is the seriousness of his pose and the strength of his physique but there is a little lightness in his face. the hope was to try to get a little personality in there. >> what was the former first lady's reaction to your depiction? >> that was the highlight for my entire visit here to washington was spending time with her last night. her reaction to the end result. it was possibly too emotional for me. it was fantastic. >> can you share anything she said? >> just very simple words on how it is exactly ronnie and how others mentioned convinced i had known him. which i unfortunately never did. i feel like i do.
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they mentioned the energy in his pose and exegs is exactly him. i am eager to have them see the clay version because the darker bronze you don't see all of the details and personality. at some point i hope to share those with him. >> what becomes with your clay model? >> there is a two-foot version and a seven-foot clay. this is the sad part. when you take the mold from them they normally get very damaged. and they get chopped into many pieces for the whole casting process. >> that's painful. >> yeah. in some projects i have to do it myself and that is the worst taking a saw or knife to your clay. >> you made the comment that you felt you know him. did you ever meet president
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reagan? >> no. i came very close by a non-linear chance. i did a magazine cover of president reagan and was asked to do a portrait of president reagan. for that portrait i was told when to be in california to meet with him. this is beyond exciting. when i arrived he was sick with the flu. i never physically got to see him on that trip. instead i spent hours and hours inside the archives of the reagan library. >> it is fair for you and the audience to know that mr. fagan is a long time friend of spann and he has created art including the only art that's painted all of the presidents. this is a friendly interview today with someone we have known for a long time. let me close out by asking you do you want to see this again
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as time goes on and watch public reaction or do you move on? >> i love watching people's reactions. i think the curerators at the capitol won't enjoy this but i love when kids and people go up and touch the statue. there is a contact to history and people in the past they love. last night there were lots of people touching it, which was wonderful. the hard part for me is saying goodbye. i really do hope i come back and visit quite a bit. >> i kept staying -- the statues that are part of the collection are all over the capitol. yours is in a prime rotation in the rotunda. in closing, what is your big take away? you are driving back to north carolina. what will you be thinking about reflecting on this? >> the people and how in terms
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of this story, the story of president reagan, how many people i witnessed who had close ties to him and the emotion of the event. yesterday was much more than i expected. and then even in the evening it came forth more. i think just the impact that he obviously had on the country and on all types of direct people. >> thank you for talking to us. we appreciate it. nice to see you. we also have a bigraphy and some of the works he has done for us. >> each state is allowed to have two statues. this is close to an hour.
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome members of the united states senate, speakers of the house, honored guests and mrs. ronald reagan. [applause] [applause]
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>> today we are gathered to honor president reagan with the unveiling of his statue in the capitol. please remain standing for the opening ceremonies. >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing for the presentation of colors by the united states armed forces color guard. the singing of our national anthem and remain standing.
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>> please be seated. >> let us pray. lord the light of lights how majestic is your name in all the earth. we marvel that you care about humanity. and have crowned us with glory and honor. today accept our gratitude for
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this congressional tribute to president ronald reagan. whose love for freedom inspired our nation to embrace our best hopes. thank you for his ability to plant seeds of confidence and to lift liberties' lamp until freedom's light was seen around the world. may this statue in honor remind us of america's opportunity to remain a shining city on a hill and motivate us to discover and do your will.
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lord, give us grace to love what you command and to desire what you promised. grant that guided by your light we may reach the light that never fades that by your truth we may reach the truth that is complete. we pray in your holy name. amen. >> ladies and gentlemen, republican leader of the us house of representatives, the honorable john bane ard. >> mrs. reagan, madam speaker, honored guests and my colleagues, let me first say a
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big thank you to the california delegation for all of their efforts in making this day possible. on october 27, 1964 ronald reagan gave a nationally televised address supporting barry gold water, the republican nominee for president. and while goldwater was defeated by lyndon johnson, many americans watching that day immediately sensed that reagan would one day become president. the title of reagan's speech was a time for choosing. in it reagan crystallized the voices for voters. when people vote for self government or would they submit themselves to be ruled by elites in a far distant
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capital? reagan's poke at domestic social engineers was accompanied by a vigorous defense of america's greatness abroad. he reminded americans they did have a rendezvous with destiny. as california governor ronald reagan proved over and over that he had the mind of a committed conservative and the temperament of an extraordinary leader. as president reagan displayed his skill in communicating a vision of american exceptionism. it wasn't just vision that moved people his way, it was also his tone. he was always quick with a smile or joke. he once said i left orders to be awakened in case of a national emergency, even if i am in a cabinet meeting. he clearly had the pulse and
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the respect of the average american. ronald reagan developed an alliance margaret thatcher and led the west out of what eno'sullivan called the nightmare years of the 1970's. together they literally changed the world for the better. today we honor president reagan's lifetime achieve ment and honor his legacy of political freedom. he fought to enact a set of tax cuts authored by a fellow conservative who would be honored to be here today, jack kemp. the tax cuts that president reagan enacted drop rates that were as high as 70%. this would allow to build,
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expand and create jobs. reagan's economic policies would inspire the growth predicated on free trade, low taxes, deregulation and curbing run away inflation. i recently had an opportunity to tour the reagan ranch in santa barbara. one of the great things i saw was the desk that president reagan used to sign the kemp-roth tax cuts into law. the free market policy set into motion on that very table were responsible for creating 35 million new jobs in america through 1999. this is another part of ronald reagan's legacy. this is a piece of rock from the berlin wall. those walls came down because
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of ronald reagan's relentless commitment to freedom and insistence on american victory in the cold war. he was unafraid to say the soviets were actually the evil empire. reagan rejected the moral relativism that was blind to the distinction between tyranny and freedom. ronald reagan saw america as a city on the hill set apart pie god, who intended us to be free. and in his first inaugural address he said freedom in the dignity of the individual have been more available and more assured here than any other place on earth. three years later congressman rating the fallen warriors at omaha beach, reagan said we will always remember. we will always be proud. we will always be prepared so we may always be free.
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today our freedom is defended by 1,092 foot long air carrier and 5,500 sailors on the ronald reagan and their motto is peace through strength. ronald reagan's legacy is intact, and i am confident it will be for generations to come. if you study the man and his times you will see the rhythm of life described by shakespeare. all the world's stage and all of the men and women are merely players. and one man in his time will play many parts. ronald reagan played his parts brilliantly with words and deeds. he inspired his countryno one great heights and inspired a great vision. we are honored to grab his likeness.
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[applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the republican leader of the united states senate the honorable mitch mcconnell. >> friends, fellow members of congress, trustees of the ronald reagan presidential foundation, mrs. reagan, today we celebrate a great man's life. and as we dedicate this statue we affirm that man's treasured place in our hearts and in our
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nation's storied history. many today are too young to remember what a difference he made. but rather than recite a history lesson, let me just say this. when america thought our best days lay behind us, ronald reagan showed they still lay ahead. when the world thought freedom was in retreat, ronald reagan proved that liberty was the strongest force in history. and when many thought freedom should negotiate with tyranny, ronald reagan had the courage to call tyranny by its name and to say that freedom would win. ronald reagan is remembered as one of the giants of the 20th century. he deserves our admiration.
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and he deserves this statue. but the real ronald reagan stood taller than any statue, and we know the source of that strength. she is here with us. nancy, together you and president reagan lifted our nation when we needed it most. and america is still grateful. you will always have a special place in our hearts. when ronald reagan began the journey that led to the sunset of his life, he remained optimistic about america even then. and as he put it so memorabley in a handwritten letter to the
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nation, i know that for america there will always be a bright dawn ahead. holding firm to the ideals that he embraced throughout his remarkable life, we can say the same. and inspired by the example of ronald wilson reagan we can pay an even greater tribute than the monument that we dedicate here today. we can build that hopeful future that he always saw before him. that is the living tribute that we owe this great man. and it is the tribute that his memory and this nation that he loved deserves. thank you. [applause]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, majority leader of the united states senate. >> from his earliest days as an actor entertaining crowds at the las vegas strip to his profound -- my state always felt close to president reagan. the same week ronald reagan became governor of california there was a governor next door in nevada. paul managed his campaign. and on the day president reagan was down the street in the white house, paul worked here. paul was president reagan's number one confidant in the
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senate. when the president asked for things important that's who he went to. president trusted him with many difficult and classified assignments. when he sent him to the -- he is with us today to honor his good friend. he was so close to president reagan, some called him the first friend. we know nobody was more important to president reagan than his loving first lady nancy. mrs. reagan, it is wonderful to see you. i had a wonderful time visiting with you before we came here, exchanging stories about ronald reagan. but you are here today, smiling as always by president reagan's side. the talented sculptor said when he carved the statue he shape

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