John Loengard, Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan, California, 1966

John Loengard Time Inc.

Ronald Reagan seemed sure to win the Republican nomination for Governor of California. Waiting for a committee to appear on the tarmac to greet him at Fresno, Reagan swapped jokes with his staff in teh rear of the plane. When he guffawed in my presence, I thought his glee reflected his confidence in victory. Now it seems more likely it reflected the fact the aircraft was on the ground. No one on board mentioned a fear of flying, but a decade after Reagan left the presidency, his authorized biography described his state of mind that morning: "Only sheer will would have made him conquer his 30-year fear of airplanes, and consent to a series of stop-go flights in a battered white DC-3."

From As I See It

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