Democracy Dies in Darkness

On Leadership

Myths and truths about Ronald Reagan

October 2, 2016 at 5:29 PM

(Backgrounds by Craig & Karl for The Washington Post; Photo by Amy King/The Washington Post)

Dutch. The Gipper. The Great Communicator.

Ronald Reagan's name(s) and legacy are invoked constantly in American politics today, whether to highlight conservative ideals or presidential leadership traits. So in the newest episode of the Presidential podcast, we decided to take a look at how well the popularized image of Reagan aligns with the man and commander-in-chief he really was.

Our guest for the episode is Lou Cannon, who served as senior White House correspondent for The Washington Post during President Reagan's administration and who has written several books on the Republican icon, including the acclaimed biography "President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime."

Listen to the episode here or on iTunes:

In previous episodes of the Presidential podcast, we've explored topics like Theodore Roosevelt's heartbreak and the way Lyndon Johnson exercised power. The podcast is hosted by Lillian Cunningham, editor of The Washington Post's On Leadership section.

As listeners tune in each week, the podcast reveals the ways in which our collective sense of what's 'presidential' has evolved over the years and how each president—esteemed, loathed or nearly forgotten—has something to tell us about what it takes to hold the nation's highest office.

A new episode comes out every Sunday. Here's how to follow along:

Subscribe for free on iTunes to automatically get new episodes when they launch
Check out our Presidential page on the Washington Post site for new episodes and the full series archive
* Follow us on Twitter for discussion about the episodes and upcoming teasers
* Follow us on Instagram for images from history and from behind the scenes of the podcast


Lillian Cunningham is the creator and host of the "Presidential" and "Constitutional" podcasts. She was previously a feature writer for and editor of The Washington Post's On Leadership section, for which she received two Emmy Awards for her interviews with leaders in politics, business and the arts.

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