Why Was Ronald Reagan Called “The Great Communicator”?

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Ronald Reagan’s nickname “The Great Communicator” arose from his many public speeches in favor of political conservatism, as well as his ability to connect with his audiences. His 1964 speech “A Time for Choosing,” delivered during the 1964 presidential campaign on behalf of Republican nominee Barry Goldwater, is considered the event that launched Reagan’s political career.

Reagan gained extensive experience in public communication through his work as a radio sports commentator and as a professional actor. In 1954, he took a job as the host of the General Electric Corporation’s weekly television program, which gave him the opportunity to travel to many G.E. plants throughout the United States where he could listen to workers and hone his public speaking skills.

After losing the 1976 Republican presidential nomination, Reagan spent several years writing opinion columns and delivering short political addresses on the radio. Reagan downplayed his nickname of The Great Communicator in his farewell address from the Oval Office. He claimed that whatever greatness existed in his speeches didn’t come from his words or his style, but from the content. He said he wanted to communicate great ideas, and those ideas came from the heart of the nation and the principles upon which it was founded.