A First Lady of Priorities and Proprieties: Nancy Reagan

As the duties of the nation's highest office grow ever more complex, one equation becomes simpler: power is access, the ability to get the President's attention. First Ladies, of course, have a natural advantage in that competition, but Nancy Davis Reagan, 57, may well turn out to be as influential as any woman who ever shared the White House.

The point is not that she helps her husband shape policy. They do discuss issues, and she avidly follows television news and current affairs (she has read The Memoirs of Richard Nixon and Henry...

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