WHITE HOUSE WIVES
REFLECTIONS ON THEIR WAY TO, DURING OR AFTER THEIR TIMES AT 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE.

Nancy Reagan
“…Losing isn’t a good feeling. When it’s close, it’s even harder to lose. The power that surrounds that office, even in campaigning for it, is awesome. When we first started out, a lot of people didn’t take Ronnie seriously, When it ended, they did…
“We would have preferred the Republicans to win, of course, but I must tell you, we felt relief that it was finally over. The primaries and the preelection period last too long in this country. And the money spent by all candidates would be embarrassing for the world to know…
“One has all kinds of friends. A newspaper reporter in Chicago once asked why we only had rich and successful friends. I think I said, ‘Those are the only friends you seem to want to write about. I’ll be glad to introduce you to my poorer friends.”‘
— December 1976, after the Carter victory over Gerald Ford

“Your mind can’t work properly when you’re tired and your judgment is poor. My husband is not a napper, but I’m going to try to make him do that. It was good enough for Johnson and Kennedy, and it makes good sense to me.”
— December 1980, a month before Reagan’s inauguration

Barbara Bush
“I think I’m at peace with myself. I don’t think I’ve always been. I’m still feisty…”
“He’s a very stable man. I’m not saying he loves everybody, but I’ve never seen George Bush have a temper tantrum. In 43 years of marriage, he has never yelled at me.”
— October 1988

Betty Ford
“I would like to see them nominate someone who is electable, and I don’t think Mr. Reagan is electable….
On infidelity: “There are some known individuals who obviously got caught. I am very surprised because I happen to know these people as being very fine citizens. I think it’s a very unfortunate situation, but I think you’ll find it goes on in any capital, whether it’s a state capital or right here in Washington. We’ve always known, the wives have always known, there are girls on the Hill who are available. You just went along hoping that your husband didn’t have one in his office.”
— June 1976

Rosalynn Carter
“I just assume it’s going to happen [becoming first lady]. “If I hadn’t had the experience of being first lady of Georgia, I’d be terrified. We worked so hard for that day when Jimmy would be governor, but when it finally came, I was scared, really scared. But afterwards, I found it was easy because there were so many people to help. And I think that is one of the most valuable things to me, now that I’m campaigning all over the country.”
— January 1976

Lady Bird Johnson
“I don’t want to judge [Women’s Lib] by the theatrical front and all the noises that it somehow requires. I know it from the protected standpoint of the wife who doesn’t have to face competition for myself and my children. [I agree with] the aims of equal pay for equal work. [Abortion reform] would take a lot more understanding. I don’t know.”
— November 1970

Hillary Clinton
“[Fashion reporter] Nina Hyde said she felt well-dressed if she had a Swatch watch. I went to my dresser and looked for one. After you’ve been on the worst dressed list of People magazine, you’ll look for anything.”
— September 1994

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