published Friday, April 13th, 2012

Michael Reagan visits Chattanooga for Bryan College dinner

Michael Reagan, son of the late President Ronald Reagan, straightens his tie in a restroom on the second floor of the Chattanooga Convention Center on Thursday before speaking at Bryan College's Opportunity Program dinner. Reagan was the keynote speaker at the dinner, which raised funds for scholarships for academically qualified students from low-income families.
Michael Reagan, son of the late President Ronald Reagan, straightens his tie in a restroom on the second floor of the Chattanooga Convention Center on Thursday before speaking at Bryan College's Opportunity Program dinner. Reagan was the keynote speaker at the dinner, which raised funds for scholarships for academically qualified students from low-income families.
Photo by Doug Strickland.

As Michael Reagan watched GOP presidential debates over the course of this year, he couldn't help but recall President Ronald Reagan.

That's to be expected because the former president adopted him just three days after he was born in 1945, he said.

"I superimpose him into the debates," Michael Reagan said. "They'd hit him with the taxes. They'd hit him with the abortion bill."

Michael Reagan was the special guest at Thursday's Bryan College Opportunity Program Dinner at the Chattanooga Convention Center on Carter Street.

The opportunity was a chance to raise funds for the Bryan Opportunity Program, which helps raise funds for lower-income students who graduate from a Tennessee high school and may not have the funds to attend the Christian liberal arts college in Dayton. Michael Reagan signed copies of his book "The New Reagan Revolution: How Ronald Reagan's Principles Can Restore America's Greatness," which were available for sale, and took photos with guests.

"We like to bring in people that are out of Chattanooga and have interesting things to share," said Blake Hudson, vice president for advancement at Bryan College. "Being an election year, people are talking about his dad's legacy."

One of those "people" is President Barack Obama, who recently was quoted saying that if Ronald Reagan were to run for president today, that "he could not get through the Republican primary."

Michael Reagan responded by writing an article on TownHall.com on Wednesday titled "Not So Fast There, Mr. Obama," where he did agree, "to some extent," that it would be difficult for Reagan to win the GOP nomination today.

Reagan said his adopted father would be seen as "too liberal" by today's GOP to get elected. But former President Reagan was a "cheerleader for the country," Michael Reagan said, and that is what is missing in today's candidates.

"Ronald Reagan spoke in parables; today's candidates speak in sound bites," Reagan said.

This year's GOP race and the many candidates made for a difficult year to unify the GOP, Michael Reagan said. But with Rick Santorum dropping out and Mitt Romney becoming the likely candidate for the top spot on the GOP presidential ticket, things may start to change, Michael Reagan said.

"People are tired of the fighting and arguing," he said. "What Romney has to do is begin to reach out to the conservatives. Otherwise, we're going down a road to lose the upcoming election."

Another thing that needs to change, Michael Reagan said, is the constant comparison between current candidates and his adoptive father.

"Republicans need to look for someone to lead them now instead of looking for Ronald Reagan," he said. "They're all going to pale in comparison to Ronald Reagan."

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