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In an exclusive interview on The Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour with host Earl Ofari Hutchinson on KTYM 1460 AM Los Angeles and nationally on The Hutchinson Report Communications Network on February 4, Michael Reagan, oldest son of Former President Ronald Reagan
Transcription by Annette Lockett, McAl Typing Service * 4239 Denker Avenue * Los Angeles, CA 90062 * 323-293-3244 * FAX 323-293-0404 * E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
EOH: What are the three major accomplishments of President Reagan that have relevance today?
MR: His greatest accomplishment was the fact that he was someone you trusted. It really is about trust and respect. I was told that my father had a good soul and what the world is missing today is that good soul. I think that is really the core of Ronald Reagan. He really had a good soul. He accomplished great things as President of the United States, such as the Brandenburg Gate speech where no one wanted him to say tear down this wall. I think it all starts with Ronald Reagan’s good soul and what is missing in this world today is that good soul.
EOH: In your book you talk about how to find a way to work with those you disagree with. To me that was one of the strengths of Ronald Reagan.
MR: Yes. It says on his gravesite “Find the Good”. Everybody has good in them somewhere. Ronald Reagan found that good in people. And he didn’t make politics personal. He understood the art of politics and the art of compromise. He learned this over a long period of time, and as President of the Screen Actors Guild. He was able to take what he learned and used it as Governor of California and President of the United States. He found areas to work together with Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neal, Margaret Thatcher, and others. He understood politics was like a football field. If you gain 10 yards at a time, you will ultimately get to the end zone. It’s a work in progress. He also understood the 80/20 rule; if you are with me 80% of the time, let’s work together and move the ball forward. It gained him friends and respect. Respect of the office and respect of the person is more important than friendships.
EOH: Your brother Ronald stated that Ronald Reagan would be appalled at the level of vitriol today. Your response to that?
MR: My father would be appalled at politics becoming personal. He never thought that it should be personal. It should be about politics, not personalities, etc. The bottom line is – is he qualified to be president of the United States. It seems the left never sees themselves in these actions.
EOH: How do you respond to the litany of criticism of your dad regarding civil rights?
MR: I guess you can look at anybody and find areas of disagreement. He was the one who signed on and gave us Martin Luther King Day. During the Reagan years of the presidency every class of persons moved upward. The unemployment rate of blacks when he took presidency was somewhere around 19%. When he left office it was a little under 12%. Today it is at 16%. The black middle class moved up during the 1980’s when he lowered taxes for everybody across the board. When you look at Iran Contra, here is a president that apologized and went on from there. His thought process is that in watching the Carter administration and watching the Soviet Block take over pieces of property all over the world, he swore he was not going to have communists coming into our hemisphere during his presidency. He wanted to make sure they didn’t get a stronghold in this hemisphere. There are people on the left who don’t mind Communists having a foothold in this part of the world. Ronald Reagan fought Communism from the time he was President of the Screen Actors Guild, and during his presidency. He thought of it as a cancer and did not want that cancer in the United States of America. You have groups of people who want to keep other people down, and Ronald Reagan did not want to keep groups of anybody down. Ronald Reagan was not anti-civil rights. He believed in Civil Rights.
EOH: Can you tell us about the Ronald Reagan Legacy Foundation?
MR: The Reagan Legacy Foundation was started a few years ago. It supplies Scholarships to the men and women who serve aboard the USS Ronald Reagan. Two years ago we opened up the Reagan exhibit at the Checkpoint Charley Museum in Berlin. Approximately 4,000 people a day go through that museum learning about Ronald Reagan. Had we not done that, no body would have learned about Ronald Reagan in that area of the world. When the falling of the wall was celebrated a couple of years ago, there was no mention of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Communists, who built the wall, or who tore down the wall. We do a lousy job of selling America. We also took high school students from the inner city and the Afterschool All-Stars and took them to former Eastern Block countries last summer to introduce them to what it was like to live without any freedoms at all, and walk them through history and really understand what these people went through and why America had to be involved in WWII. This summer we plan to take 100 high school students. The application is on my website, www.reagan.com or www.reaganlegacyfoundation.org. All high school students are eligible to apply.