The next time presidential candidates forget the agencies of government, flub a question on Libya, or desperately need to win over an audience, they might want to consider telling a joke instead of saying “oops.” Jokes certainly worked for Ronald Reagan. In fact, many of his greatest and most memorable quotes resulted in laughs.
Although some recent public speaking calamities for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former businessman Herman Cain left their campaign managers in tears, the late-night comedy hosts are doing cartwheels. So, how can the two presidential hopefuls get the last laugh? All they need to do is read some of the historical (and hysterical) quips and quotes from our nation’s 40th president, the Commander of Comedy, Ronald Reagan.
As any accomplished comedian will profess: You can’t die on stage if you’re killing your audience. Ronald Reagan understood the importance of humor better than any president. He used comedy strategically to make a point, deflect criticism, defuse an opponent, and connect with the American people. When Ronald Reagan gave a speech, two things were usually certain to follow — applause and laughs.
Ronald Reagan also dropped one-liners, instead of bombs, to defeat the Soviet empire. During a summit with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the president joked: “Two guys are standing in line waiting for vodka. One of them impatiently says, ‘This is ridiculous. I'm going to go and kill Gorbachev.’ He leaves and comes back 20 minutes later. His friend, asks, ‘Did you do it?’ ‘No,’ he responds. ‘That line was even longer than this one!’” Today, Gorbachev calls his former adversary “a great man.”
When trouble arose in Panama and Congress was contemplating economic sanctions, Ronald Reagan fired off one his most famous quotes: “If the Congress wants to bring the Panamanian economy to its knees, why doesn't it just go down there and run the country?” The laughs ensued.
Back home, Ronald Reagan won over the media with his sometimes-stinging humor and endearing grin. “It's my job to solve all the country's problems,” he told reporters, “and it's your job to make sure no one finds out about it.”
Even while fighting for his life after he was shot in 1981, Ronald Reagan was still cracking jokes. He told his doctors, “I hope you are all Republicans.”
Regardless of whether the doctors were Republicans, Ronald Reagan and his sense of humor survived that dreaded day. And he basked in the moment when he received a raucous welcome from a joint session of Congress in his first major public appearance following the shooting, delivering this quip: “You wouldn’t want to talk me into an encore, would you?” His audience erupted with more applause, more cheering and, of course, more laughs!
If Ronald Reagan were alive today, he probably would educate today’s presidential hopefuls on the power of the punch line. He would tell them that laughter would help them not only win debates, votes, and elections, but also change the world.
: For a limited time, Newsmax is making a CD of Ronald Reagan’s Greatest Laughs available for just $1. Go here now to find these funny Ronald Reagan quotes and jokes.
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