After many years of illness, Ronald Reagan was very ill and it appeared that he might not pull through. Obviously, Nancy and the family were at his side, as well as his minister.
Knowing that his time might be short, they asked if there was anything that he wanted. "Yes," he replied, "I'd like very
much to have Bill and Hillary Clinton at each side of my bed before I go."
They were all amazed at this request and several assumed that his memory was failing even worse than they had suspected. Regardless, they went ahead and forwarded his
request to the former first family.
Within hours, the former president and first lady arrived at his bedside, via Air Force One that was dispatched by George W for the purpose.
For a time, no one said anything. Both Bill and Hillary were touched and flattered that Ron would ask them to be with him during his final moments. They were also puzzled - they were of different parties and obviously had thrown barbs in one another's direction over the years. Why not George Bush Sr., G.W. Bush or some of Reagan's Hollywood friends? He had never given the Clintons an indication that he particularly liked either of them.
Finally, Bill spoke up and asked, "Mr. President, why did you chose us to be at your bedside at this critical moment ?"
The former president mustered up some strength and said very weakly, "Jesus died between two thieves ... and that's how I want to go."