Nancy Reagan to Bush: 'We Don't Support Your Re-Election'
By TERESA HAMPTON & WILLIAM D. McTAVISH
Jul 30, 2004
The widow of former President, and Republican icon, Ronald Reagan has told the GOP she wants nothing to do with their upcoming national convention or the re-election campaign of President George W. Bush.
Nancy Reagan turned down numerous invitations to appear at the Republican National Convention and has warned the Bush campaign she will not tolerate any use of her or her late husbands words or images in the President’s re-election effort.
“Mrs. Reagan does not support President Bush’s re-election and neither to most members of the President’s family,” says a spokesman for the former First Lady.
Reagan’s son, Ron, spoke at the just-concluded Democratic National Convention and writes in next month’s Esquire magazine that “George W. Bush and his administration have taken normal mendacity to a startling new level far beyond lies of convenience. They traffic in big lies.”
Ron Reagan is joined by his sister Patty in opposing Bush’s re-election effort. Only brother Michael Reagan, a conservative talk show host, supports the President and claims Ron is manipulating his mother.
Unlike the other Reagan children, Michael is not Reagan’s biological child. He was adopted by Reagan during the actor’s first marriage to actress Jane Wyman and often complains that his stepmother, Nancy, likes Ron best.
“He is her favorite,” Michael Reagan told Fox News. “Ron can do no wrong. I mean, basically that's it, Ron can do no wrong.”
Ron, however, claims George W. Bush has destroyed the Republican Party his father helped build.
“My father, acting roles excepted, never pretended to be anyone but himself,” Reagan writes in Esquire. “His Republican Party, furthermore, seems a far cry from the current model, with its cringing obeisance to the religious right.”
The Reagans’ split with Bush and the party centers around stem cell research which many believe can help find a cure for Alzheimer’s, the disease that crippled President Reagan in his final years. Bush and the ultra-conservative wing of the Republican Party oppose use of new stem cells. The Reagans, with the exception of Michael, support such use.
There’s more to the feud than that, however. Nancy Reagan has told close followers she believes Bush and the current Republican leadership have divided America with their extreme views. She has told Republican leaders she wants nothing to do with the party or Bush.
During the week of Reagan’s funeral, the former First Lady “went ballistic” when she learned the Bush campaign was test marketing new ads that used Reagan’s photos and speeches in an effort to show he supported Bush and his re-election. She personally called Republican Party Chief Ed Gillespie to demand the ads be destroyed.
Republican strategists admit the ads were produced but never ran. They were pulled after scoring poorly with focus groups where viewers found them in “poor taste.”
“Mrs. Reagan doesn’t care why the ads were pulled. She just wanted to make sure they never went on the air,” says a spokesman for the First Lady. “She does care about whether or not the memory of President Reagan is used for political purposes.”
© Copyright 2004 Capitol Hill Blue