Before you watch, go back and read Paul Bedard’s post at U.S. News fact-checking Ron’s allegations about his father’s illness. RR actually admits to a minor factual error here — it was Tucson, he now says, where surgeons first saw signs of Alzheimer’s, not San Diego — but that wasn’t the only possible mistake that Bedard flagged. Allegedly, contra Ron’s assertions, there was no visit to the Mayo Clinic in 1990 after Reagan left office that confirmed the Alzheimer’s diagnosis; in fact, according to Reagan’s doctor, that wasn’t confirmed until three years later. And watch how cautious Ron’s language becomes when being grilled by the “GMA” team:
“Occasionally I would notice and I would wonder “Gee, why is there a little hitch in the giddy-up?” as I put it to you. And I had no idea what it was and I don’t know to this day. I can’t say definitively that I was seeing a sign of Alzheimer’s. It could have been anything,” Reagan said.
“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,” Reagan said.
And here’s what his book says, as quoted by Bedard:
“I’ve seen no evidence that my father (or anyone else) was aware of his medical condition while he was in office. Had the diagnosis been made in, say 1987, would he have stepped down? I believe he would have. Far less was known about the disease then, of course, than is known now. Today we are aware that the physiological and neurological changes associated with Alzheimer’s can be in evidence years, even decades, before identifiable symptoms arise. The question, then, of whether my father suffered from the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s while in office more or less answers itself.“
From “he would have quit if they’d diagnosed him properly” to “it could have been anything.” Wow.
Two clips for you, the first of the “GMA” interview and the second, via the Daily Caller, of Barbara Walters riding to Reagan’s defense today on “The View.” She moderated the first debate between him and Mondale — the one which Ron claims gave him his first inkling that something was amiss in dad’s brain — and didn’t notice anything wrong. Stick with it to the end or you’ll miss Behar naturally embracing the narrative anyway.