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World Leaders Remember Reagan - 2004-06-06


People around the world are paying tribute to former President Ronald Reagan -- a man known for both his personal warmth and for changing the course of world events.

French President Jacques Chirac said the 40th U.S. president leaves "a deep mark in history." Former German Chancellor elmut Kohl said Mr. Reagan's support of freedom was a decisive factor in overcoming the division of Europe and Germany.

Close friend and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher praised Mr. Reagan's handling of the Cold War, while former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev called him " a great president."

At 69, Reagan was the oldest man to become president when he was elected in 1980 over then President Jimmy Carter.

During his eight years in the White House, Mr. Reagan became known for boosting U.S. confidence at home. Overseas, his foreign policy helped dramatically change the political map of Europe.

Mr. Reagan's agenda included strengthening the U.S. military and a drive to lower tax rates-- even as government spending remained high, resulting in huge federal budget deficits.

Mr. Reagan will always be remembered primarily for his foreign policy--specifically his strong stand against communism and his criticism of the Soviet Union for its human rights violations and economic flaws.

Many historians credit him with accelerating the eventual collapse of the Soviets and their satellite states, which began less than a year after Mr. Reagan left office in January 1989.

But before then, he and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had negotiated the first U.S.-Soviet treaty to reduce the countries' nuclear arsenals.

Information for this report is provided by AP.

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