Daily Archives: March 22, 2011

Would Ronald Reagan Have Endorsed Ron Paul? by Gregory Hilton

Similar to any Republican president, Ronald Reagan endorsed all GOP House and Senate candidates. This included liberal Republicans such as Senators Mark Hatfield (OR), Lowell Weicker (CT), and Arlen Specter (PA), as well as Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).
The difference is Paul has taken an old endorsement from a Congressional race and attempted to make it appear Reagan endorsed the Texan as a national candidate. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rep. Paul has misrepresented the Reagan pro forma endorsement for decades and his action has been condemned by top Reagan aides.
This was a significant issue during the 2008 presidential campaign. In the New Hampshire primary, the most prominent Paul TV ad closed with the narrator saying: “We need to keep him fighting for our country,” and the words are attributed to Reagan. This was surprising because it came from the same Ron Paul who told the Dallas Morning News the Reagan presidency was a “dramatic failure.”
The endorsement controversy was addressed in the February 11, 2008 issue of Newsweek:
“Paul uses a longer version of the quotation on his Web page: ‘Ron Paul is one of the outstanding leaders fighting for a stronger national defense. As a former Air Force officer, he knows well the needs of our armed forces, and he always puts them first.’ – Ronald Reagan
“Ron Paul’s embrace of Reagan’s legacy represents a significant change of heart. Actually, it’s the second time that Paul has changed his mind about Reagan. After endorsing Reagan for president in 1976 and again in 1980, Paul became disenchanted, leaving the Republican party in 1987. The following year, he told the Los Angeles Times on May 10, 1988: “The American people have never reached this point of disgust with politicians before. I want to totally disassociate myself from the Reagan Administration.
“Paul’s disaffection started early in Reagan’s presidency: ‘Ronald Reagan has given us a deficit 10 times greater than what we had with the Democrats,’ Paul told the Christian Science Monitor in 1987, ‘It didn’t take more than a month after 1981, to realize there would be no changes.’
“Sometime between 1988 (during Paul’s run for the presidency on the Libertarian Party ticket) and 1996 (when Paul, running as a Republican once more, successfully ousted an incumbent House member in a GOP primary), Paul once again embraced Reagan’s legacy.
The New York Times reported then that Paul had used the longer version of the Reagan quote in a videotape sent to 30,000 households. According to the Times, Reagan’s former attorney general, Edwin Meese III, flew to Texas ‘to insist that Mr. Reagan had offered no recent endorsements.’
“We were unable to document Reagan’s endorsement of Paul. When we asked the Paul campaign for documentation, a spokesperson told us that the campaign was ‘a little more focused on positive things.’ The Paul campaign did not provide the Times with a date for the quotation in 1996, either.”