Barack Obama to miss Nancy Reagan funeral for South by Southwest speech

Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton will attend the service in California on Friday

First Lady Michelle Obama and Democratic presidential hopeful and former First Lady Hillary Clinton will attend Nancy Reagan's funeral in California on Friday, a sign of the enduring power of President Ronald Reagan's legacy 27 years after he left office.

President Obama will be speaking that day at the South by Southwest conference in Austin. Clinton's spokesman said she would "drop off the trail briefly" to pay her respects.

Reagan will be buried next to her husband at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, officials said on Monday. The late First Lady will lie in repose at the library on Wednesday and Thursday.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan dies, aged 94

Reagan, who died Sunday at the age of 94, played an important role in her husband's presidency, guarding his image and launching her own campaign against drug abuse.

The Obamas said Reagan redefined the role of First Lady.

"Nancy Reagan once wrote that nothing could prepare you for living in the White House," the Obamas wrote in a joint statement on Sunday. "She was right, of course. But we had a head start, because we were fortunate to benefit from her proud example, and her warm and generous advice."

Michelle Obama also attended former First Lady Betty Ford's funeral in 2011.

© Washington Post