Conservative Political Group Buys Reagan Ranch
By Jonathan Karl/CNN
WASHINGTON (April 20) -- Former President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy are selling the ranch Reagan used as his Western White House to a conservative political group, CNN has learned. The closing is scheduled for Tuesday and the price is more than $5 million.
The Young America's Foundation, a group which promotes conservative politics on college campuses, is buying the piece of American history. They plan to turn one of the most famous pieces of political real estate into a retreat for young conservatives.
"It's so fundamentally important that Young America's has purchased this ranch so that we can use this as a facility to bring college student from all over America up to the ranch and learn about the real Reagan legacy," group spokesman Marc Short said.
Reagan spent 345 days of his eight-year presidency at the 688-acre ranch outside Santa Barbara, California.
Reagan trucked a bit of Washington to the ranch, bringing cabinet members, secret service, the White House press corps, and world leaders including Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev there.
For his image makers the ranch was the perfect out-of-Washington backdrop, a place for the cameras to capture the image of Reagan and his horse.
The ranch was also the site of an embarrassing Reagan moment. Prior to a radio address the president joked, "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." He didn't realize his microphone was on.
Reagan hasn't used the ranch since he was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease almost four years ago.
In a statement obtained by CNN, Nancy Reagan said of the sale, "We hope that our ranch will be a spark for many bright, young Americans in the years ahead."