President Obama to Skip Nancy Reagan Funeral for SXSW Conference

US President Barack Obama (C) signs the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act at the White House on June 2, 2009 with former US first lady Nancy Reagan

President Obama will not attend former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s funeral on Friday, the White House confirmed, as he is scheduled for an appearance at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Texas instead.

According to the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama will attend the Reagan funeral to represent the White House. (The First Lady will be the opening keynote speaker at SXSW Music on Wednesday.)

It appears that modern presidents don’t traditionally attend the funerals of former First Ladies. When First Lady Betty Ford died in 2011, former First Ladies Rosalynn Carter, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Reagan all attended. Former President George W. Bush attended that funeral instead of his wife Laura, who had other travel commitments. President Obama and former President Bill Clinton did not attend the funeral.

Former First Lady Hillary Clinton will attend Nancy Reagan’s funeral, her campaign confirmed.

According to SXSW organizers, Obama is scheduled for an interview at the conference with Evan Smith, the editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune. Obama is expected to challenge technical innovators to stop global warming and improve politics.

Obama spoke favorably of Nancy Reagan on Monday, comparing her impact on the White House to that of his own wife, Michelle Obama.

“I think it’s been well documented the extraordinary love that she had for her husband, and the extraordinary comfort and strength she provided him during really hard times,” Obama told reporters at the White House. “As somebody who is lucky enough to have an extraordinary partner in my life as well, I know how much she meant not just to President Reagan but to the country as a whole. He was lucky to have her… She will be missed.”


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