First lady Nancy Reagan exited the Republican political arena the same way she arrived - on the arm of a Hollywood leading man.

This time, though, it was not Ronald Reagan but her friend Tom Selleck, star of the "Magnum P.I." television series."The last eight years have been a test of strength for Nancy," Selleck said in introducing the first lady for a tribute by the thousands of cheering, flag-waving Republicans at the party's national convention Monday night.

"Two months after the inauguration, an assassin almost took away what she loves most," the actor recalled. "She faced the death of both her parents she loved dearly. She has endured controversy and she's inspired millions of women. There are young people alive today because of (her anti-drug effort)."

Mrs. Reagan, appreciative of the kind words, took the stage to bid her formal farewell to the GOP, blowing a kiss to the crowd as she acknowledged the need to move on.

"Our time at center stage is over," she told the delegates wistfully. "One era is ending; another is beginning. I want to thank for all the years you've worked on our behalf. I'll miss you. I'll never forget you.

"Thank you for all you have done for me. You've given Ronnie and me such a wonderful life, a life we never dreamed possible. It's a most extraordinary feeling to represent a nation and its people.

"The last eight years have been the most fulfilling of my life."

Saying "good night and God bless," the first lady then walked off stage with Selleck, arm in arm.

Monday night's speech amounted to a second goodbye from Mrs. Reagan, who had her usual escort drop in on a luncheon in her honor earlier in the day.

"Every president should be so lucky," Reagan told the afternoon crowd as he hugged his weeping wife in front of 3,000 whooping Republicans.

"What do you say about somebody who gives her life for yours, who sacrifices her life for yours? You say to her you love that person and you treasure her.

"Nancy has made my job a joy," the president said. "I simply can't imagine the last eight years without her. Every president has his experts who give him advice on foreign policy, defense and other issues. But nobody looks after his needs as a human being, except, if he's lucky, his wife.

"My wife has done a wonderful job taking care of me. I don't thank Nancy enough. Today, I want to thank you. Thank you for your love and thank you for just being you."

The Reagans embraced before he was ushered from the lunch by security guards.

Though the personal level of such praise could not be matched, the scheduled speakers at the afternoon tribute also credited the first lady with much of her husband's success.