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Former U.N. Ambassador Kirkpatrick Dead at 80

DEBORAH AMOS, host:

The first woman to serve as the United States ambassador to the United Nations has died. Jeane Kirkpatrick was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, and she distinguished herself as a blunt and forceful advocate of the administration's policies.

Ms. JEANE KIRKPATRICK (Former United States Ambassador to the United States): Ronald Reagan brought to the presidency confidence in the American experience, confidence in the legitimacy and success of American institutions, confidence in the decency of the American people, and confidence in the relevance of our experience to the rest of the world.

AMOS: That's Jeane Kirkpatrick speaking at the 1984 Republican convention. Long before she embraced the conservatism of the Reagan era, Jeane Kirkpatrick was an active member of the Democratic Party. She became frustrated with the Democrats during the Cold War and was an outspoken critic of President Jimmy Carter. She came to Ronald Reagan's attention during his campaign for the presidency, and he appointed her to the U.N. post in 1981. Jeane Kirkpatrick died in her sleep last night at her home in Bethesda, Maryland. She was 80 years old. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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