Ronald Reagan's children reject Republican claims over his political legacy

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The three surviving children of Ronald Reagan have rubbished efforts by Republican presidential hopefuls to claim his mantle as a conservative reformer, branding Sarah Palin "a soap opera".

Celebrations to mark the centenary of the late president's birth have coincided with the need of what critics call a mediocre group of candidates to burnish their reputations to send Reagan-fever jumping to unprecedented levels.

Speaking at a dinner to honour the 40th president, Sarah Palin said she considered herself a "western conservative in the spirit of Ronald Reagan".

Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker who is also considering a run for the White House, compared his Pennsylvania roots to Reagan's in a small town in Illinois and said man who ended the Cold War would have handled the turmoil in Egypt with much more certainty than President Barack Obama. Other potential candidates have lavished praise on Reagan, who died in 2004, and cited him as their chief inspiration....

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