Barring a sudden world crisis, President Reagan, always the Great Delegator, can sit back, put up his feet and peacefully enjoy his last weeks as chief executive, while tributes pour in celebrating his eight years of national leadership.
Foreign leaders will pay farewell visits. Reagan will deliver a televised farewell address to the nation from the Oval Office. And he will take at least two more vacations before he leaves the White House.And a final "full-blown Reagan budget," in the words of White House aides, still in the final stages of formulation, will be sent to Congress by Jan. 9, shaped mostly by senior administration officials.
While the election of a successor Tuesday means Reagan will have to share the political limelight for the first time during two terms, the popular president will continue to be the focus of a series of salutes from foreign leaders and domestic supporters right up until the moment he hands over the reins of power to the new president-elect in the inaugural ceremony at noon, Jan. 20, on the steps of the Capitol.
Reagan will be honored at a series of banquets given by Washington community leaders, the Republican National Committee and other political supporters.
During the interregnum, Reagan's final budget will be transmitted to Congress, although it is recognized at the White House that the new president-elect is likely to recommend changes after he takes office.
Under the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings budget law, the final Reagan budget - expected to be $1.1 trillion - must reduce the federal deficit to $100 billion from this year's estimated $146.8 billion. The largest items in Reagan's final budget will be Social Security, defense and interest on the national debt, which has almost tripled since he took office.
Soon after Election Day, Reagan will meet with the president-elect on transition matters.
White House aides say they also expect Reagan to deliver a televised farewell address to the nation but to leave the State of the Union message to his successor.
Before his term ends, Reagan also will dispatch top emissaries to world trade talks in Canada in December and to an international conference in Paris to tighten controls over chemical warfare, a meeting he proposed at the United Nations.
Foreign leaders will come to pay their respects. West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is scheduled to visit the White House on Nov. 15. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher arrives the following day. There may be others.
It will be no surprise if Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who met with Reagan in four summit encounters, telephones or writes to Reagan before his departure.