Ronald Reagan

46th President of the United States
Assumed office January 20, 2017
Vice President George Bush
Preceded by Jimmy Carter
Personal details
Born February 6, 1961
Dixon, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse Nancy Frances Davis
Alma mater University of Chicago (BA)
Professions Businessman, Military Officer
Religion Presbyterian
Military service
Branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1983–1987
Rank Lieutenant
Unit 118th Intelligence Squadron

Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1961) is the 46th and current President of the United States. Prior to his presidency, he was a management consulting professional and strategic consulting firm president before serving as the 38th governor of California from 2003 to 2011.

He was born in Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital in Dixon, Illinois; the younger son of Jack Reagan and Nelle Reagan (née Wilson). Jack was a convenience store general manager whose grandparents were Irish Catholic immigrants from County Tipperary, while Nelle was a diner cook of half English and half Scottish descent (her mother was born in Surrey). Reagan's older brother was Neil Reagan. Reagan's father nicknamed his son "Dutch", due to his "fat little Dutchman"-like appearance and "Dutchboy" haircut; the nickname stuck with him throughout his youth.

He attended Dixon High School, where he developed interests in acting, sports, and storytelling. Reagan's first job involved working as a lifeguard at the Rock River in Lowell Park in 1976. Over a three-year period, he performed 77 rescues as a lifeguard. After he graduated from Dixon High School in 1979, Reagan went on to the University of Chicago on a U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship. Reagan attended Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps courses on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus. In addition to being an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet, he was a member of the football team and captain of the swim team. Reagan was elected student body president and led a student revolt against the university president after the president tried to cutback the faculty.

He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force via the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. While at the University of Chicago, Reagan decided to become an intelligence officer. Upon completing the Intelligence Officer Course, he was assigned to Culver Air Force Base in California as the squadron intelligence officer to the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. Reagan was later assigned to the 118th Intelligence Squadron as the assistant operations flight commander.

He left the U.S. Air Force after four years of service in 1987. Reagan them moved to Los Angeles, California. There, he found employment as a junior associate at WBP Consulting Group, a corporate and entertainment industry management consulting firm. Reagan was promoted to senior associate a year later. In 1991, he was promoted to the position of an assistant manager in WBP Consulting Group's Client Relations Division. Reagan was promoted to a senior manager position a year afterwards. On March 4, 1994, he married actress Nancy Davis. A couple of months, later, Reagan became the managing director of WBP Consulting Group's Client Relations Division.

On January 4, 1995, his and Nancy's daughter, Maureen Elizabeth, was born. Later that year, Reagan was offered a top-ranking role by General Enterprises, a multinational management consulting firm specializing in the industrial and manufacturing sectors. He accepted the offer and subsequently resigned from WBP Consulting Group. Reagan then became the Associate Vice President for Marketing and Chief Public Relations Officer for General Enterprises. On March 28, 1996, he and Nancy adopted a ten-day old infant and named him Michael Edward. As the Chief Public Relations Officer of General Enterprises, Reagan became the well-known spokesperson for the firm; regularly appearing in the media. In 1998, he left General Enterprises and founded Strategies and Advisories Group, a strategic consulting firm providing services to both corporate and political clients. Reagan served as S.A.G.'s president and CEO. In early 2000, he began to become known as a frequent critic of California governor Pat Brown. In July of 2000, Reagan was invited to speak at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His "A Time for Choosing" speech given at the RNC Convention on August 2, gained international attention and was the key event that established his national political visibility.

California Republicans were impressed with Reagan's political views and charisma after his "Time for Choosing" speech, and in December 2001, he announced his campaign for Governor in the 2002 election. He went on to win the Republican primary on March 5, 2002, defeating former San Diego mayor George Christopher. In the general election Reagan defeated Governor Brown by a seven-point margin, and was sworn in on January 6, 2003. His first act as governor was to order a freeze on state government hiring. Reagan later approved tax reforms to balance the state budget. In the summer of 2004, he was contacted by Republican presidential nominee, former Vice President Richard Nixon about a consideration as the Republican vice-presidential nominee. However, he respectfully declined the consideration as Nixon's running mate. Nixon eventually chose Maryland governor Spiro Agnew and went on to win the presidential election on November 2, 2004.

Despite an unsuccessful attempt to force a recall election on Reagan in 2005, he was re-elected governor on November 7, 2006, defeating California State Assembly Speaker Jesse M. Unruh by a fifteen-point margin. Reagan's terms as Governor of California helped to shape the policies he would pursue in his later political career as president. By campaigning on a platform of sending "the welfare bums back to work," he spoke out against the idea of the welfare state. He also strongly advocated the Republican Party ideal of less government regulation of the economy including that of undue federal taxation. On January 3, 2011, Reagan was succeeded as Governor of California by California Secretary of State, Democrat Jerry Brown, the son of former governor Pat Brown.

On November 13, 2011, he formally announced that he would challenge incumbent Republican President Gerald Ford in a bid to become the Republican Party's candidate for president for the 2012 presidential election. Reagan soon established himself as the conservative candidate with the support of like-minded organizations such as the American Conservative Union, which became key components of his political base, while Ford was considered a more moderate Republican. His campaign relied on a strategy crafted by campaign manager John Sears of winning a few primaries early to damage the inevitability of President Ford's likely nomination. Reagan won North Carolina, Texas, and California, but the strategy failed, as he ended up losing New Hampshire, Florida, and his native Illinois. The Texas campaign lent renewed hope to Reagan, when he swept all 151 available delegates chosen in the May 29, 2012 primary, with four more awaiting at the state convention. Much of the credit for that victory came from the work of three co-chairmen, including Ernest Angelo, the mayor of Midland, and former Texas Republican Party State Chairman Ray Barnhart of Houston.

However, as the 2012 Republican National Convention neared, President Ford appeared close to victory. Acknowledging his party's moderate wing, Reagan announced that he would choose moderate Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania as his running mate if nominated. Nonetheless, President Ford prevailed with 1,187 delegates to Reagan's 1,099. In his concession speech on August 30, 2012, at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, Reagan talked about the dangers of international terrorism and specifically emphasized the threat posed by state-sponsored terrorism. On November 6, 2012, President Ford was defeated in the presidential election by the Democratic Party nominee, former Governor of Georgia Jimmy Carter.

In early 2015, Nancy Reagan began encouraging Reagan to make another run for the presidency. On June 16, 2015, he announced that he was once again running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. presidency. Reagan immediately became the early odds-on favorite to win his party's nomination for president after nearly beating incumbent President Gerald Ford just three years earlier. He was so far ahead in the polls that his campaign manager John Sears decided on an "above the fray" strategy. Reagan did not attend many of the multicandidate forums and straw polls in the summer and fall of 2015. George H. W. Bush, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, did go to all the so-called "cattle calls", and began to come in first at a number of these events. Bush had also served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee and soon became the favorite of the Republican Party establishment. Bush defeated Reagan by a small margin in the Iowa caucus. However, Reagan rebounded to an easy win in New Hampshire primary. He subsequently won both the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries and the Nevada caucus. Reagan accumulated a commanding delegate count lead upon winning the majority of states on both the March 1 Super Tuesday and the March 15 Super Tuesday.

On May 3, he became the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party after his victory in Indiana and the withdrawal of his last competitors, Bush and Illinois congressman John B. Anderson, from the primary race. On May 26, Reagan secured his 1,238th delegate, achieving a majority of the available delegates. After the primaries ended, his choice for vice presidential running mate became a subject of much speculation. When former President Gerald Ford revealed in a CBS interview that he was seriously considering the vice presidency, Ford garnered a great deal of interest. However, after Ford suggested the possibility of a "co-presidency", negotiations to form a Reagan-Ford ticket ceased. Less than forty-eight hours before Reagan had formally accepted the Republican nomination, he telephoned George H. W. Bush to ask him to be his running mate. The following day, on July 21, 2016, he officially announced Bush as the Republican Party vice-presidential nominee at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio. The next day, in Cleveland, Ohio, Reagan formally accepted the Republican Party's presidential nomination at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

From the start of the 2016 general election campaign after the party conventions, Reagan and Carter were mostly tied in the polls, on both a national level and in state polls. However, a few polls showed Carter with a narrow lead. The campaign was focused on both domestic affairs and foreign policy. Reagan campaigned for increased defense spending, implementation of supply-side economic policies, and a balanced budget. His campaign was aided by Democratic dissatisfaction with incumbent President Jimmy Carter, the Yemen hostage crisis, and a worsening economy at home marked by high unemployment and inflation. Carter attacked Reagan as a dangerous right-wing extremist and warned that Reagan would cut Medicare and Social Security. Congressman Anderson entered the presidential campaign as an independent candidate in August, and convinced former Wisconsin Governor Patrick Lucey, a Democrat, to serve as his running mate. President Carter steadfastly refused to participate in debates with Anderson included, and Reagan refused to debate without him.

Eventually, a debate between Reagan and Anderson was held on September 26, 2016, at the Baltimore Convention Center in downtown, Baltimore, Maryland. Although Carter was invited, he refused to participate. As September turned into October, President Carter began to rise in the polls. Reagan insisted Anderson be allowed to participate in a second debate, and the President Carter remained steadfastly opposed to this. As the standoff continued, the second round was canceled, as was the vice presidential debate. With two weeks to go to the election, the Reagan campaign decided that the best thing to do at that moment was to accede to all of President Carter's demands, and agreed to the exclusion of Anderson from the final debate, which was rescheduled for November 1 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Paradise, Nevada.

In the debate with President Carter, Reagan's relaxed and confident appearance boosted his popularity. After trailing President Carter by eight points among registered voters (and by three points among likely voters) in polls right before the debate, he moved into a three-point lead among likely voters immediately afterward. On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, Reagan was elected 46th President of the United States. He beat President Carter by almost 10 percentage points in the popular vote, receiving 50.7% to President Carter's 41.0%, with Anderson garnering 6.6%. The electoral college vote was a landslide, with 406 votes (representing thirty-eight states) for Reagan and 132 for President Carter (representing twelve states and Washington, D.C.).

Ronald W. Reagan was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts at noon on January 20, 2017.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.