Edwin Meese III was one of President Ronald Reagan’s most trusted confidants, serving the conservative icon during his governorship of California and his presidency in Washington. And just like the former president, Meese shares the unbridled optimism that drew so many Americans to adore Reagan.

That can-do spirit is still evident in Meese today. At the age of 80, he holds the Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation and serves as chairman of Heritage’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. He’s also a distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution and remains an active leader in the conservative movement, helping to organize and inspire a new generation of leaders to carry forward the first principles that have defined America. Earlier this year, the Bradley Foundation awarded Meese its distinguished Bradley Prize.

This week the Daily Caller released a 15-minute interview with the former attorney general and White House counsel. The accompanying story offers a flattering depiction of Meese:

Ed Meese may be the most renowned and widely respected leader in the modern conservative movement.

A humble, principled and wise man of integrity, Meese has dedicated his entire professional life to public service. He worked in Ronald Reagan’s gubernatorial administration in California and later served in senior positions in Reagan’s White House. In 1985, he was confirmed as Attorney General of the United States.

The interview covered a range of topics — from current threats facing America to reducing the size and scope of government. Meese talked about what keeps him optimistic and how he first met Reagan.

Ginni Thomas, who conducted the interview, is a Heritage alumnae. Her weekly series, “Leaders with Ginni Thomas,” features prominent individuals who are leaving a mark on America. Click here to sign up for her email updates.