During a recent interview on the current economic crisis, President-Elect Obama was asked by a reporter if he had spoken with former presidents about the matter. Obama replied "I have spoken to all of them... um... that are living." A tense pause follows and then, as a joking aside, he explains "Hey, I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances..." The room full of reporters laughs, and he moves on to more pressing issues. Later, according to CNN, Obama's staff said that Obama had apologized to Ms. Reagan "for the careless and offhanded remark."
But.. why? Ok, for political reasons.. of course he needed to do that. That's not what I'm concerned about. My concern is... what exactly is he apologizing for? Former First Lady Nancy Reagan publicly admits to using an astrologer for planning Ronald Reagan's schedule. That's right.. the "leader of the free world" had his activities at least partially dictated by someone who believes that the position of the planets and stars dictate "goodness" and "badness" in an individual's daily life. That is a VERY scary thing, and I believe Ms. Reagan was rightfully mocked when this story broke in the early 1990's.
I can find no evidence that Nancy Reagan actually had anything to do with seances, so Obama probalby mispoke there, but I find it very interesting that when he tried to lessen the impact of his unclear statement, mocking Nancy Reagan's beliefs came to mind as an acceptable bit of light-heartedness. And this, I find to be a GOOD thing. We will soon have a man in office who thinks the idea of consulting astrologers to be laughable.
To answer my own question, yes, he needed to apologize. That was not an appropriate comment for him to make in his current position to a national audience, and Nancy Reagan didn't need to be mentioned at all. The remark was as stated, "careless and offhanded." But I'm glad he lost his composure for a moment, because I find the message he's really sending to be hopeful.