RALEIGH, N.C. — As the country began a week of memorials for Ronald Reagan on Monday, a local man recalled personal memories of the former President.
Marc Rotterman called Reagan one of the greatest presidents in history.
When Reagan prepared for a 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter at an estate in Virginia, Raleigh resident Rotterman was there.
"I did what they asked me to do," Rotterman said, "whether it was putting briefings together, advance for the president, fielding phone calls, helping with the press."
Now a Republican consultant, Rotterman worked with Reagan first on his 1980 campaign and then in his administration as a liason for the Department of Transportation.
Rotterman called working with Reagan one of the greatest times of his career. He called Reagan a humble man with a lasting impression.
"Unless you were there, it's hard to understand," Rotterman said. "But when he came into a room, even if you didn't know he was in the room, you could feel the presence. Now, that's an odd thing to say, but he just had a presence of nobody else that I've ever seen."
Rotterman credited Reagan's political success to his vision of economic expansion, a stronger military and a sense of optimism. He said Reagan's lasting legacy is our country's economic expansion and the fall of communism.
"If you remember in the '70s, we had double-digit inflation, double-digit interest rates, gas lines," Rotterman said. "We were not respected around the world. Ronald Reagan made us respect ourselves again -- and gave us hope."
It is a hope that Rotterman predicts will last for generations to come.