Michael K. Deaver, who arranged some of Ronald Reagan’s most memorable photographic backdrops for public consumption and privately gave the president blunt, sometimes contrarian advice, died yesterday at his home in Bethesda, Md. He was 69.When perjury mattered in Washington, and people turned down pardons. Seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?
Mr. Deaver was widely known for creating photo ops that showed Reagan atop the Great Wall of China, at the cliffs of Normandy and filling sandbags to show concern after a Louisiana flood. And he played a central role in planning Reagan’s funeral in 2004; the last visual was burial as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.
He formed a hugely successful lobbying firm, Michael K. Deaver & Associates, whose clients included Canada, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, TWA and Philip Morris. He posed for the cover of Time in 1986, sitting in the back seat of a limousine with a telephone at his ear, the Capitol in the background.
But the accompanying story was headlined "Cashing In on Top Connections," and in 1987 he was convicted on three counts of perjury for lying to a House subcommittee and a federal grand jury about efforts to use the White House in his lobbying efforts.
Reagan’s diary, published this summer, made it clear that just before leaving office in 1989 he considered pardoning his old friend, "but Mike has passed the word that he won’t accept a pardon."