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The very image of a president

Agree with him or not, Ronald Reagan embodied America for many

Today, the nation bids its final farewell to a man who was, for many Americans,the very image of what a president should be.

Whether you agreed with his politics was immaterial. And this newspaper, for the record, did not. The Mail Tribune endorsed Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Walter Mondale in 1984, though without great enthusiasm either time.

What made Ronald Reagan special was his enthusiasm for the job, and the easy way he had in the spotlight that illuminates every president.

It has been said of Reagan that, unlike several men who held the office in recent years, he seemed to truly enjoy being president. He may have been the first chief executive since John F. Kennedy for whom that was true.

Several modern presidents visibly aged in office ' Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon in particular come to mind ' but Reagan almost seemed to get more vigorous the longer he served.

He was, in many ways, the right figure at the right time to capture the hearts of the public.

— After the Watergate scandal left its stain on government in general and the presidency in particular, Jimmy Carter struggled to rally the nation through rampant inflation and an energy crisis. He ended his term with Americans held hostage in Iran and the government seemingly powerless to do anything about it.

Reagan won the 1980 election by asking, Are you better off today than you were four years ago? Enough voters responded in his favor to give him the White House with 50.7 percent of the popular vote.

Four years later, riding the wave of a rebounding economy, Reagan swept to re-election with 59 percent of the popular vote.

Reagan also was perfectly suited to use the power of television to his advantage. A veteran radio announcer and movie actor, he was always at ease in front of the camera. He had top-notch speechwriters, and he delivered their words masterfully.

Above all, he came to power in a time of uncertainty and doubt, and he made Americans feel good about themselves and their country.

Today Americans bid farewell to a leader who seemed larger than life.

Godspeed, Mr. President.

Sting disappointing

Unlike a sting operation last fall in which eight businesses tested all refused to sell alcohol to minors, out of 36 rural businesses tested last week, 15 failed.

Oregon Liquor Control Commission inspectors called the results of the sting last Friday and Saturday disappointing. The results of the operation last October ' in which all eight businesses refused to sell ' was touted as an indication that efforts to curtail alcohol sales to minors were working.

OLCC inspectors said the results of the most recent test were a little higher than usual. Ordinarily, some 25 to 30 percent of businesses fail such random compliance checks. Businesses that sell to minors can have their liquor licenses suspended, and store clerks can be cited into court and fined &

36;350.

It was good to see the positive results last October, and it was not so good to see the poor showing this time around. OLCC officials said that in the summer months there is an increase in attempts by minors to purchase alcohol. The agency hopes to raise awareness early in the season.

We hope that happens among business owners and clerks and that we in fact have a fairly dry summer, free of accidents attributable to minors consuming alcohol.