Ronald Reagan and Hubert Humphrey are born four months and 450 miles apart, both delivered in second-floor rooms above small-town storefronts in the Midwest.


•Humphrey works in his father's drugstores in rural South Dakota and is educated at the University of Minnesota and Louisiana State University. In the early 1940s he becomes an instructor at the University of Minnesota and works for the New Deal's Works Progress Administration.

•Reagan works as a small-town lifeguard, then graduates from Eureka College in Illinois, where he was a star athlete and student body president. He becomes a radio sportscaster, and on a road trip to California takes a screen test and lands a contract as a "B film" actor for Warner Brothers.

War years

Health issues keep both out of World War II combat service. Reagan makes Army training films. Humphrey works in war-related administrative offices.


Humphrey is elected mayor of Minneapolis and soon leads a battle to expel communists from the newly merged Democratic-Farmer-Labor party.


Reagan is elected president of the Screen Actors Guild and soon aids federal officials in identifying communist sympathizers within the movie industry.


Humphrey leads a bitter fight for a bold Civil Rights platform plank at the Democratic National Convention, calling in an impassioned speech for his party to emerge from the "shadow of states' rights." Later that year, Minnesota elects him to the U.S. Senate.


Humphrey runs for the Democratic nomination for president, losing to John F. Kennedy. Reagan's movie career has waned, but he has grown wealthy and famous as a television and speaking-circuit pitchman for General Electric.


Humphrey, having led the Senate fight for an historic Civil Rights Act, is elected vice president as the running mate of Lyndon Johnson. Reagan endorses Johnson's opponent, Barry Goldwater, and launches his own political career with a televised speech for Goldwater, "A Time for Choosing."


Reagan is elected to the first of two terms as governor of California.


Humphrey runs for president as the Democratic nominee, losing narrowly to Richard Nixon.


Humphrey is again elected to the U.S. Senate.


Humphrey again runs for the Democratic presidential nomination, losing to George McGovern.


Reagan challenges incumbent president Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination, losing narrowly.


Humphrey dies of bladder cancer.


Reagan is elected to the first of two terms as president.


In Berlin, Reagan challenges the Soviet Union to "Tear Down This Wall!"


Reagan dies from Alzheimer's.