Nancy Reagan turned 91 on Friday, celebrated with a Happy Birthday serenade from Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
The former First Lady joined Robert Iger, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., on Thursday to host an exhibit from the Walt Disney Archives.
It was her first public appearance since she broke her ribs in a fall in April.
“She’s sort of, you know, a living symbol, in many ways, of what her husband’s ideals were, and I think that’s a good reason to respect her,” Iger told CBS News.
The former first lady received a standing ovation from the audience of specially invited guests as she walked on stage at the library. One hand clutched a cane while she used the other to lean on the arm of Frederick Ryan, chairman of the board of trustees for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, the Ventura County Star reported.
Nearly a quarter-century after her husband left office, Nancy Reagan continues to remain influential within the Republican Party — Mitt Romney received her endorsement last month — and she plays an active role in many of the library’s events. Rising star Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida appeared with her last year there, saving her from a fall when she stumbled.
“You know she's not afraid, if she feels strongly about an issue, to speak out on it,” Robert Tuttle, former ambassador to Great Britain, told CBS News. “And I think that’s what’s so wonderful about her, how contemporary she has kept herself through all these years.”
According to former Secretary of State George Shultz, who served under Ronald Reagan, he would have never won the White House without Nancy.
“I doubt it,” Schultz, now 92, told CBS News. “Because he depended on her.”
Friday was also the 66th birthday of another former occupant of the White House, George W. Bush.
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