Years in office: 1981–1989
Political party: Republican
Birthday: February 6, 1911
In the 1980 election, Ronald Reagan used a campaign slogan that would be referenced by another Republican candidate 36 years later. Reagan’s star power propelled him to victory over Jimmy Carter.
In 1980, the former governor of California, and famous actor, Ronald Reagan, faced the incumbent Jimmy Carter. The two differed in Cold War policy, with Reagan favoring a more aggressive stance against Russia. They differed in temperament, with Reagan taking on a more positive persona. And they differed in economics, with Reagan claiming America was in a recession and in need of government intervention. Reagan gained a boost in televised debates, a clear advantage for the seasoned actor. He won with 51% of the popular vote and 91% of the electoral vote.
President Reagan entered the election of 1984 with a high approval rating. The Democratic nominee, Walter Mondale, pointed out that the booming economy was fueled by large budget deficits, creating non-sustainable growth. Mondale also made Reagan’s age a campaign issue. Reagan turned that to his advantage by famously joking, “I will not make age an issue of this campaign . . . I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” Reagan won re-election by the same large margins as his first election.
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Davis, Kenneth C., and Pedro Martin. Don’t Know Much about the Presidents. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2014.
DeGregorio, William A., and Aaron Jaffe. The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books, Inc., 2017.
Kane, Joseph Nathan, and Janet Podell. Facts about the Presidents: A Compilation of Biographical and Historical Information. New York: H.W. Wilson, 2009.
Encyclopedia Britannica, britannica.com
Library of Congress, loc.gov
Miller Center, University of Virginia, millercenter.org/the-presidency
The White House, whitehouse.gov
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