Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – Mike Deaver died Saturday at the age of 69. A close advisor to the late President Ronald Reagan and just as close to former first lady Nancy Reagan, Mike understood “looking presidential” better than anyone I have ever known. He took imagery, staging and advance work to a new level in politics. From the famous “Morning in America” theme, to recognizing citizens attending the State of the Union, to ensuring that President Reagan was “the great communicator” while being among the least accessible of modern Presidents had Mike’s touch. People from both sides of the aisle knew Mike was a master at his craft.
In th last few years, I got to know him and I loved his stories. One, in particular, stands out. Mike believed the “light” presidents were the most successful ones. By “light,” he meant those who enjoyed working in the oval office with its bountiful natural light. He said John Kennedy, Reagan and Bill Clinton were “light” presidents and that he admired them all, political differences not withstanding.
I knew what Mike meant by “light” presidents. When we were building the Clinton Library, President Clnton told me he wanted to create an exact replica of the Oval Office but that if we couldn’t do it without natural light, he didn’t want it done at all. So when you visit the Clinton Library’s Oval Office, check out the natural light. I shared with Mike what President Clinton had requested and with a big grin Mike replied, “Good for him.”
Any person who does presidential advance, communciations or event planning owes much to Mike Deaver. He was a great teacher; we at the Clinton School honor his memory and extend our sympathy to the members of his family and to his professional colleagues.