In the days since Ron Reagan Jr. made claims that his father had symptoms of Alzheimer’s as early as 1984, in his newly released book, “My Father at 100,” he has come under fire from his stepbrother Michael Reagan and some who had personal exposure to the President during the time in question. Now Barbara Walters is speaking out.
“Well, as it happens, I was a moderator of that debate,” said Walters on “The View” Tuesday morning. “It was in 1984. It was an hour and 40 minutes. That’s a long time. And maybe he stumbled over one answer or so forth. But I don’t remember — an hour and 40 minutes to answer questions and to answer questions from a panel, and he was with it.”
With evidence mounting against his incendiary claims that Ronald Reagan showed signs of mental deterioration late in his first term in office, Reagan Jr. is walking back his unsupported allegations.
“I have little worries that may in retrospect have been very early inklings of this, but I can’t say that for sure. You’re right, I’m not a doctor. I’m just trying to deal with this in sort of an open and honest way as I experienced it,” President Ronald Reagan’s son, Ron Reagan told GMA.”
Flack has been flying hot and heavy from the conservative media and blogosphere in this the latest in what seem to be a series of unhinged remarks from far left journalists and commentators who think it is okay to attack conservative icons. Many on the right have implied that Reagan’s youngest son, an extreme liberal, is trying to tarnish his father’s legacy.
“In the liberal commentator’s new book, he says it’s fact that the his father had Alzheimer’s while still in office and vividly describes seeing signs of ‘something beyond mellowing’ affecting President Reagan as early as three years into his first term. An excerpt from his description of Reagan’s first debate with 1984 Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale: ‘My heart sank as he floundered his way through his responses. He looked tired and bewildered.’
“Given this passage from his new book, it’s safe to say Ron Reagan was being somewhat dishonest in this interview.”
Michael Reagan, the adopted son of Ronald Reagan and his first wife, Jane Wyman, and who is not close with his second family siblings at the 40th President’s funeral, has come out vehemently against his younger brother’s assessment of their father’s mental health with president.
“I was absolutely outraged, dealing with [Alzheimers] on a regular basis like I do, that Ronald Reagan’s own son would say something of that nature and give fodder to people on the left who have not liked my father and used that disease against my father for many many years.”
Michael Reagan is also currently making the media rounds in promotion of his new book, “The New Reagan Revolution: How Ronald Reagan’s Principles Can Restore America’s Greatness.” The eldest Reagan son has spent the years since his father’s death promoting his legacy.
“There is nothing that backs him up,” Michael said. ”There is no piece of evidence, anywhere on the planet. In order to believe what my brother says there has to be this giant conspiracy which includes every member of the family. There is no such conspiracy.”
According to Michael in an interview with Politics Daily’s Anne Groer, Ron Jr. may be trying to spin a conspiracy theory simply for money.
“While he refused to discuss inheritance details, he says, “it wasn’t enough for Ron or for anybody to retire on…I hope Patti doesn’t come out and try to support Ron. He needs to own this deal because it’s a conspiracy theory that everybody has to be involved in, including my father’s own children.”
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation also jumped into the fray this morning:
“[T]his subject has been well-documented over the years by both President Reagan’s personal physicians, physicians who treated him after the diagnosis, as well as those who worked closely with him daily,” the foundation said in a statement. “All are consistent in their view that signs of Alzheimer’s did not appear until well after President Reagan left the White House.”