Reagan's myth has grown over time

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As the late President Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday is observed, historians point out that his political successes, not his persona, have been mythologized over the years.

Upon taking office, Reagan faced a severe recession and double-digit inflation. Gas station lines stretched for miles. Americans simply lost hope in their economic future, historians say.

The former governor of California used his experiences in politics and his career in Hollywood -- first as an actor and later as president of the Screen Actors Guild -- to help change the American way of life.

But for all the praise by current conservatives for the economic turnaround during his presidency, historians also note that many conservatives of his day weren't exactly big fans of all of his policies, including his negotiations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev over nuclear arms. At the time, many within his own party felt reaching out to the Soviets was a sign of willingness to negotiate with an evil dictator....

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