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President Reagan praised Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., Tuesday as...

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- President Reagan praised Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., Tuesday as a 'true legend in his time.'

Reagan spoke at a fund-raising dinner for Thurmond, 80, who is expected to run for a sixth term in 1984.

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At the 'Salute to Two Presidents' -- reflecting Thurmond's position as president pro tempore of the Senate -- Reagan said, 'Strom speaks with a voice of common sense - and common sense is about as common in Washington, D.C. as a Fouth of July blizzard in Columbia, S.C.'

An estimated 3,200 paid either $100 or $500 a plate for the dinner in a steel and concrete auditorium on the state fairgrounds. Senate Republican leader Howard Baker also attended.

'I'm delighted to be here for someone who is a true legend in his time,' Reagan said. 'Strom Thurmond is a man of character, wisdom, energy, and leadership and he's one big reason America is back on the road to greatness again.'

He also praised Thurmond for his support of a military buildup and his work for South Carolina's textile and tobacco industries.

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