The Presidency by Hugh Sidey: From Brickbats to Bouquets

They are like butterflies, iron or lace, caught in the political turbulence created by their husbands. They can be flashes of beauty and grace in the dark crevices of society or symbols of comfort and quiet hope in times of national despair. First Ladies have an impossible job, and each has a different challenge.

Nancy Reagan was as much of a shock as her husband. Her principal duty as she saw it was to be wife and home manager for the President, something she described as "nesting," which meant "trying to make the...

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