Obama on Nancy: President Reagan was 'lucky to have her'

Obama on Nancy: President Reagan was 'lucky to have her'
© Wikimedia

President Obama on Monday personally praised former first lady Nancy Reagan, who died Sunday at the age of 94. 

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Obama recalled meeting Reagan early in his presidency, saying she “could not have been more gracious and more charming to myself and Michelle when we first came into office.”

ADVERTISEMENT
“I think it's been well documented the extraordinary love that she had for her husband, and the extraordinary comfort and strength she provided him during really hard times,” the president said. 

“As somebody who is lucky enough to have an extraordinary partner in my life as well, I know how much she meant not just to President Reagan but to the country as a whole,” Obama added. “He was lucky to have her. ... She will be missed.”

Obama welcomed Nancy Reagan to the White House in June 2009 for the signing of legislation establishing a commission to plan a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth. That came months after Obama made a joke at her expense at a 2008 news conference shortly after he was elected.

It was the first time Obama spoke in-person about the passing of Nancy Reagan, who died of congenital heart failure over the weekend.

The president on Monday ordered flags to be flown at half-staff to honor her life.

And on Sunday, Obama and first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle ObamaMichelle Obama holds fitness 'bootcamps' for friends Obama marks Father’s Day: ‘I'm most proud to be Sasha and Malia's dad’ Obamas invited to be honorary football coach at University of Michigan MORE issued a statement praising Reagan for redefining the role of first lady.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Monday would not say who from the administration will attend Reagan's funeral, saying that planning is underway. The ceremony is set to take place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

-- This report was updated at 1:26 p.m.