Weinberger was called "Cap the Knife" for slashing social programs in the Nixon and Ford administrations. He became "Cap the Shovel" as Ronald Reagan's secretary of Defense, raising the defense budget by some $2 trillion. Intensely loyal, he refused to turn on Reagan when indicted in the Iran-contra scandal. George H.W. Bush pardoned him in 1992, calling him "a true American patriot."

Nofziger liked to play the role of gruff-tough political hatchet man, with an edge of whimsy. The ex-newsman had a key role in Reagan's political ascendancy and then became a well-known consultant. He was found guilty of lobbying violations in 1988, but his conviction was later overturned.