Reagan Advisers Weinberger and Nofziger Die

Lyn Nofziger i i

Lyn Nofziger was the first to tell reporters that President Reagan had been wounded in a 1981 assassination attempt. Michael Evans hide caption

itoggle caption Michael Evans
Lyn Nofziger

Lyn Nofziger was the first to tell reporters that President Reagan had been wounded in a 1981 assassination attempt.

Michael Evans

Casper Weinberger, defense secretary under Ronald Reagan during the height of the arms race with the Soviet Union, has died at age 88. Former Reagan press secretary and political adviser Lyn Nofziger has also died. He was 81.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Now, a remembrance for two veterans of the Reagan era. Former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger died today. He was 88. Former Reagan press secretary and political advisor Lyn Nofziger passed away yesterday. Casper Weinberger was defense secretary during the height of the arms race with the Soviet Union. He was tough on arms control, opposing most concessions to the Soviet Union, and frequently clashed with Secretary of State George Schulz. Weinberger always favored a lot defense spending to protect the U.S. from the threat, as he said in this 1989 NPR interview, even as the Soviet threat was diminishing under revolutionary democratic reforms.

Former Defense Secretary CASPER WEINBERGER: I'm not saying that defense can never be cut. I think that there may well be a time when some reductions could indeed be safely made, but we have to realize that all of this is taking place in something under six months. We also have to realize that while Mr. Gorbachev is very popular abroad, and has made himself deliberately so by a concentrated and skillful campaign, he's not all that popular at home, and it is still not by any means certain that he will not be thrown out the way Khrushchev was when he tried somewhat similar changes.

MONTAGNE: Casper Weinberger was very close Ronald Reagan. They worked together when Reagan was governor of California. He also served under President Nixon as budget director, where he had the nickname Cap the Knife. Another longtime Reagan advisor, Franklin Lyn Nofziger, once led the White House political office, and in 1981, he made this announcement:

Mr. FRANKLYN NOFZIGER (Former Political Advisor, Reagan Administration): The president has been shot once in the left chest. The bullet entered from his left side. He is in stable condition...

MONTAGNE: Nofziger was in the driveway of George Washington University Hospital, and he was the first to tell reporters that President Reagan had been wounded in that day's assassination attempt.

Mr. NOFZIGER: The President will be fully capable of making decisions tomorrow, according to the doctors. In the meantime, the business of government has gone on normally, and we expect it to continue to.

MONTAGNE: That was Lyn Nofszinger speaking about President Reagan after an assassination attempt. After he left the White House, Lyn Nofziger became a lobbyist, and he was convicted of ethics violations. The conviction was later overturned. He died yesterday at the age of 81.

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