The Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, who blended Christian and psychiatric principles into a message of "positive thinking" heard worldwide, has died at age 95.

Peale died Christmas Eve in his sleep at his farm in Pawling, N.Y., 60 miles north of New York City, from effects of a stroke he suffered about two weeks ago, the Peale Center for Christian Living said. His family, including his wife of 64 years, Ruth, was with him.Peale guided the poor through the Great Depression and counseled presidents. He preached from pulpits, through best-selling books and in 54 years of weekly radio broadcasts.

President Clinton called Peale "an optimist, who believed that whatever the antagonisms and complexities of modern life brought us, that anyone could prevail by approaching life with a simple sense of faith."

"There is some poetry in his passing on a day when the world celebrates the birth of Christ, an idea that was central to Dr. Peale's message and Dr. Peale's work," Clinton said in a statement.

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Former President Nixon said Peale was a close friend and counselor for nearly 50 years.

"Unlike some of his contemporaries, he believed that the mission of a minister was to change people rather than to change governments," Nixon said. "As a result, no religious leader of our time has had a more powerful and positive influence on the lives of millions of people all over the world."

Peale wrote more than 46 books, including "The Art of Living" and "You Can Win." His life story was the subject of a movie in 1964, "One Man's Way."

Peale's watchword was "positive thinking" - the belief that faith, prayer and a hopeful outlook can solve life's most terrible problems.

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