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The Clothes Have No Emperor

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On Bended Knee

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Trick or Treason

Reagan's Reign of Error

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Coverup - Behind the Iran-Contra Affair (1988)

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The "Great Communicator"


Reading from a Script

After Reagan made several misstatements and gaffes early in his presidency, White House aide David Gergen said in Reagan's defense, "The man has a reputation as a great communicator."  However, there was something that Gergen didn't say about Reagan:  without a script to read from, Reagan was often lost.  Without a script, Reagan would frequently make erroneous and outlandish comments.  (see Reagan Quotes)

One of Reagan's aides would later remark:

"You have to treat him [Reagan] as if you were the director and he was the actor, and you tell him what to say and what not to say, and only then does he say the right thing."
--"The Mind of the President," The New York Times Magazine, October 6, 1985

Yet it was not so easy for Reagan's handlers to script him for press conferences where unforeseen questions lurked.  This is one reason that Reagan's handlers tried to limit his meetings with the press.

"If you can control the access of the press to [Reagan], you have a hell of a lot better chance of him not screwing up."
--Lyn Nofziger (Reagan's campaign press secretary), interviewed by Mark Hertsgaard, On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency

Reagan was aware that he was inept at handling reporters.  On several occasions, he allowed his press secretary, Larry Speakes to intervene when he became confused, or was confronted with a difficult question:

'My guardian says I can't talk.''
--President Reagan explaining that he can't answer a reporter's question after his press secretary, Larry Speakes steps forward and orders the lights turned off, July 10, 1984, cited by Paul Slansky, The Clothes Have No Emperor

"They turned out the lights.  That tells me I can't talk anymore."
--President Reagan explaining that he is not allowed to answer any more questions, June 19, 1985, cited by Paul Slansky, The Clothes Have No Emperor

Not only did Larry Speakes worry that Reagan would put his foot in his mouth, so did Reagan's wife Nancy who would sometimes feed him his next line in a ventriloquist-like mumble.  At a 1983 press conference, when Reagan began to stumble, Nancy burst on stage carrying a birthday cake.  She successfully turned a news event into a party where reporters stopped asking questions and sang "Happy Birthday" to Reagan.


Reagan Years - Ronald and Nancy

 

The Ronald Reagan Years - The Real Reagan Record
by Mark Tracy



Move Your Money

"Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich. Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all Americans combined. Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have as much loot, stock and property as the assets of 155 million Americans combined." --Michael Moore, speaking in Wisconsin, 5 March 2011