Michael Reagan, the son of the late President Ronald Reagan, tells Newsmax.TV that President Barack Obama has been playing a game of “three-card Monte” with his father’s memory in an attempt to win support for his re-election bid.
“They’re trying to actually put words in Ronald Reagan’s mouth and, if people don’t really know Ronald Reagan, they may be led to believe that Ronald Reagan would be against his own party and be for the Democrats in this next election — and I think that’s exactly what he’s trying to do,” Reagan charged in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
“He’s playing three-card Monte with Ronald Reagan and I’m glad I’m here to make sure that I know where they’re hiding the ball,” added Reagan, a Republican strategist and head of the Reagan Legacy Foundation.
Watch the exclusive interview here.
He said that Obama would have Americans believe that President Reagan would be supportive of his so-called “Buffett rule.”
Obama recently attempted to draw a comparison between himself and Reagan, referring to the Gipper as another “wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior” in an attempt to win support for his campaign for higher taxes on top U.S. earners.
Moreover, Obama said that he is not the first president to call “for this idea that everybody has got to do their fair share” and he offered to rename his proposal the “Reagan Rule” if it would sway Congress.
“The reality of it is Ronald Reagan would be supportive of the Paul Ryan plan. Ronald Reagan would not be for what it is that Barack Obama wants to do — and is doing — to the United States of America,” Reagan insisted.
Despite his misstatements, Obama is correct when he says that President Reagan would have difficulty winning his party’s nomination in today’s political climate. But the same can also be said of President John F. Kennedy, who would have difficulty winning the Democratic Party’s nomination, according to Reagan.
“Two iconic figures of their own parties would have trouble today getting the nomination. But Barack Obama is using that to make people believe that somehow Ronald Reagan would support his position on taxes — his position on what needs to be done in the United States of America to bring us to fiscal sanity, if you will,” Reagan declared, adding that his father would never have supported the Buffett rule.
Reagan also offered advice for Mitt Romney to how best to bring the party together to defeat Obama now that the former Massachusetts governor has emerged as the presumptive GOP nominee.
“He needs to reach out to conservatives,” explained Reagan, who had endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. “They need to have a voice. And maybe that’s when he chooses his nominee for the vice presidency. Maybe that’s where he’ll go to somebody who’s a strong conservative. Then, in fact, conservatives can rally behind, and therefore support Mitt Romney.”
He believes that Romney’s best shot at winning the general election is if the Republican Party is “100 percent” behind him. “It’s got to be about Barack Obama. It can’t be nitpicking at our own candidate and finding his flaws. But it’s got to find the positive side if there’s going to be change and we have to get rid of Barack Obama. That’s the way Mitt Romney can go out and win,” declared Reagan. “If we are not together as one on Nov. 7 of this year then Barack Obama will win another four years in the presidency.”
But Reagan cautions Romney to be wary of people who may claim to have worked on his father’s campaign. “As much as you hear Barack Obama using my father’s name; as much as you hear Republican candidates using my father’s name; there are also people who work on campaigns who, in fact, drop my father’s name every single day — as if they were hooked to my father hook, line and sinker. And those things are not always true,” he warned. “Always check it out. Because many people who say they worked on my father’s campaign when he became president, in fact were fired, and not on the campaign at that time.”
He said that Romney should surround himself with people who have been associated with winning political campaigns, as opposed to losing efforts. “It’s time to shed the Republican Party of the old guard and bring in the new,” he declared.
Reagan draws a parallel between the 2012 election and his father’s successful election in 1980.
If Romney makes the election about Barack Obama, he can be successful, according to Reagan. “If the election is about Barack Obama, as in 1980 the election was about Jimmy Carter, then yes, it can be like 1980,” he explained. “But if the election is about, you know, Mitt Romney. If the election’s about in-fighting within the Republican Party, and is he a true conservative? Is he not a true conservative? Maybe we should have voted for that guy — and we get caught up in our own minutia — then in fact, it won’t be like 1980. It will be like 1976.”
He did not know enough about the relationship between Romney’s father — George Romney, the popular three-term governor and automobile company chief executive in Michigan — and President Reagan, to say whether the two men were close. But “you’ll never meet anybody anywhere who ever had a bad relationship with Ronald Reagan,” quipped Reagan.
That is everyone except possibly Reagan’s predecessor in the Oval Office.
“Jimmy Carter to this day is still mad that Ronald Reagan beat him, and still thinks that Ronald Reagan somehow cheated him out of winning his second term as president of the United States of America,” he said.
President Reagan once gave his son insight into the presidency that may be relevant for Romney.
“He said, ‘Michael, you’re elected president, but there comes a time in every one of our lives when you no longer look at the fact you were elected, but that day is, you become the president of the United States, and understand the authority and the power that you now have, and then what you have to do with it.”
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