SOME BACKUP FOR RON REAGAN'S CLAIM THAT HIS FATHER HAD ALZHEIMER'S AS PRESIDENT
Ron Reagan, son of the former president, has written a new book in which he claims that his father showed signs of dementia while in office:
Ron ... suggests he saw hints of confusion and "an out-of-touch president" during the 1984 campaign and again in 1986, when his father couldn't recall the names of California canyons he was flying over. Arguing his case in the book, Ron adds that doctors today know that the disease can be in evidence before being recognized. "The question, then, of whether my father suffered from the beginning stages of Alzheimer's while in office more or less answers itself," he writes.
He's not the only person to have made such a claim based on firsthand experience. Lesley Stahl of CBS News, in her 1999 book, Reporting Live, was a White House correspondent for much of the Reagan presidency. On her last day in that job, in 1986, she entered the Oval Office to say goodbye to the president, accompanied by her husband and her young daughter, Taylor. White House spokesman Larry Speakes insisted that she couldn't do a story about the meeting:
This is why Speakes said that to Stahl:
Reagan eventually rallied, Stahl says. But he'd been lost and disengaged, in her account, in a way that jibes with what Ron Reagan says now, a dozen years later.