Ronald Reagan Sets Off On His 1978 Campaign Tour of the Country, Which Helped Bolster His 1980 Prospects

He describes finding a rattlesnake at the Reagan Ranch, and draws a picture of it

After Reagan left the Governor’s office, he bought Rancho del Cielo, which today we know as the famous Reagan Ranch. As an early article on the subject explained, Reagan fell in love with the ranch the first time he saw it, particularly after he took a horseback ride. “I tell you, it`s...

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Ronald Reagan Sets Off On His 1978 Campaign Tour of the Country, Which Helped Bolster His 1980 Prospects

He describes finding a rattlesnake at the Reagan Ranch, and draws a picture of it

After Reagan left the Governor’s office, he bought Rancho del Cielo, which today we know as the famous Reagan Ranch. As an early article on the subject explained, Reagan fell in love with the ranch the first time he saw it, particularly after he took a horseback ride. “I tell you, it`s unbelievable. It really is,” Reagan said. One thing about the ranch was that snakes were a hazard. As he stated, “A man sometimes has to take things in his own hands. Around these parts, things mean snakes.”

Nancy Clark Reynolds served as assistant press secretary to Reagan during his governorship of California (1967-1975), then for two years was his special assistant. When Reagan was elected president in 1980 he recruited Reynolds to join his White House transition team (as Reynolds explained in a Washingtonian profile in 2007, “I was the only one in Washington who knew the Reagans and everybody in the Reagan camp”), and she remained a valued friend and advisor throughout his two presidential terms and beyond. Reagan appointed Reynolds US representative to the Commission on the Status of Women of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in September of 1981.

In September, Reagan set off on a trip to campaign for Congressional Republicans. It was a nationwide tour that helped bolster his status and was a factor in his selection as the nominee in 1980.

Autograph letter signed, September 25 1978, to Reynolds. “Dear Nancy, How do we thank you?  That hand wrought iron (with an ‘R’ yet) will be hung at the ranch this weekend (that means before you get this letter).  We really love it and thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Now let’s stop this fooling around and get down to when you are going to come and see the ranch.  Tycoon’s have to weekend now and then – who knows we might be in line for buying whatever the h—l ever the company makes.

“But we have all our adventures to tell you about.  We even have one OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] didn’t cover in that cartoon.  It has to do with a [drawing of a rattlesnake] (12 buttons) that interrupted a recent horse back ride.  Nancy’s horse must have heard one before.  He went straight up in the air – fortunately Nancy was still with him when he came down.  We’ll show you his “rattle” – the other end wound up under a rock. I’m talking about the snake now – not the horse.

“Any way we miss you and think you should get out in the provinces now and then – and we don’t mean Idaho. I’m off to S. Car, VA., Del., NY, Mich., and Minn. – all between now and Saturday – that’s when I hang that handsome iron work. Again thanks and thanks for the cartoon. We both love you.”

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