Jelly Beans

Reagan started eating jelly beans when he gave up smoking in the early 1960's. On his first day as governor of California, candymaker Henry Rowland gave Reagan a big jar of jelly beans, which Reagan put on the Cabinet Room table. That was the beginning of a long tradition of passing out jelly beans during Cabinet meetings. "We can hardly start a meeting or make a decision without passing around the jar of jelly beans," he told Rowland.

Reagan also once said that, "You can tell a lot about a fella's character by whether he picks out all of one color or just grabs a handful." Sometime later he remarked, "Some political figures have endured in history as lions or conquerors or something equally impressive. It's a little frightening to think California history might record us as jelly beans."

When Reagan was elected President in 1980, Henry Rowland told reporters, "There will be jelly beans in the White House, that's all I can say." True to form, Reagan kept a crystal jar full of his favorite jelly beans (Jelly Belly's) for Cabinet meetings and encouraged his department chiefs to eat them when they needed energy.

Guests at Reagans 1980 inaugural parties consumed 40 million jelly beans --- almost equalling the number of votes he received in the election.

Presidential Anecdotes.

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