William P. Clark, a persistent troubleshooter for Ronald Reagan and a conservative stalwart during the power struggles of his presidency, died Saturday in the rural California town of Shandon after an eight-year struggle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 81.
Clark, a former California Supreme Court justice and a rancher who shared with Reagan a love of horses, was one of a handful of men to hold key posts when Reagan was governor of California and again when he was president of the United States. In Sacramento, Clark served as cabinet secretary and then as de facto chief of staff. In Washington, he was by turns deputy secretary of state, national security adviser and secretary of the interior.
But this extensive resume does not begin to tell the tale of Clark’s value to Reagan.
In late 1967, when Gov. Reagan was withdrawn and at a low ebb after firing his first chief of staff, Clark without the title restored order in Sacramento and helped his boss regain an even emotional keel before passing on the job to Edwin Meese.
In 1980, when Reagan’s presidential primary campaign was floundering, Clark, at Nancy Reagan’s behest, teamed up with Meese and others to force a change in campaign managers that Nevada Sen. (and Reagan ally) Paul Laxalt later said was crucial to Reagan’s nomination.
Read More at Real Clear Politics . By Lou Cannon.
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