He also enjoyed Russian jokes, like the story he told about Adam and Eve. “I sometimes think Adam and Eve were Russians,” he said. “They didn’t have a roof over their heads, nothing to wear, but they had one apple between them, and they thought that was paradise.”
Speaking at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, he quipped, “The Russians have a new million-dollar lottery. The winner gets a dollar a year for a million years.”
Forever the optimist and positive thinker, he told a Gridiron Dinner, “Since I came to the White House, I got two hearing aids, a colon operation, skin cancer, a prostate operation and I was shot. The damn thing is, I’ve never felt better in my life.”
Not surprisingly, Ronald Reagan once pointed out that politics is like show business. “You have to have a hell of an opening, you coast for awhile, you have to have a hell of a closing.”
Nearing his 100th birthday, it is safe to say we remember him because he never coasted, and he did have one hell of a closing.
• Martin Tullai is author of “The Presidency — Once Over Lightly” and “Speaking of Abraham Lincoln.”