This Is the Vice President's Night

The White House photographers watched Ronald Reagan through their long lenses in the final campaign hours as he sat on the stage in Long Beach, Calif., tiny American flag clutched in his hand. His 77 years and his flight west had wearied him. He had a wistful look, the collected melancholia of his political ending suddenly gripping him. Then came his turn on the podium.

He unlimbered, headed for the microphone and became transformed as he began to talk. The huge crowd fell silent. The photographers thought that they saw more color come into the President's cheeks, the wrinkles smooth out,...

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