June 10, 2004
fact

still obsessed with reagan; watched cspan's live coverage of the people waiting to see the coffin for an hour last night. But more interesting is this excerpt from Lou Cannon’s biography, "President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime," found on Bob Somerby's Daily Howler:

CANNON (page 631): [I]t was obvious to [Donald] Regan and [White House counsel Peter] Wallison that the president was still shaky in his recollections. Wallison drew up what Abshire called an “aide-memoire” to help the president recall what he had told them. At the top Wallison wrote, “On the issue of the TOW [missile] shipment in August, in discussing this matter with me and David Abshire, you said you were surprised to learn that the Israelis had shipped the arms. If that is your recollection, and the question comes up at the Tower Board meeting, you might want to say that you were surprised.”

The question, of course, came up...After a preliminary question about presidents and their NSC staffs, Tower asked Reagan about the discrepancy between his statement and Regan’s on the question of whether he had given prior approval to the Israeli arms shipment. Reagan rose from his chair, walked around the desk and said to Wallison, “Peter, where is that piece of paper you had that you gave me this morning?” Then he picked up the paper and began to read, “If the question comes up at the Tower Board meeting, you might want to say that you were surprised.”

Tower’s jaw went slack. It was, as Abshire put it, “a low moment.” Tower suspected that Reagan was being manipulated by his counsel, and the Tower Board’s chief of staff, Rhett Dawson, asked Wallison for a “copy of the script” when the board departed. But Wallison was even more amazed than the Tower Board by Reagan’s response. “I was horrified, just horrified,” Wallison recalled later.

Posted by dbrown at June 10, 2004 02:31 PM
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