The Presidency: Speaking out of Turn

Speaking out of Turn

Ronald Reagan would probably not have fired him for fabricating presidential quotes, but Merrill Lynch forced him out. Former White House Spokesman Larry Speakes last Friday also became a former vice president of communications, dumped from a job worth nearly half a million a year in salary and perks.

Speakes self-immolated, revealing in his White House memoirs Speaking Out how he had made up Reagan statements without the President's knowing. A fire storm followed. Speakes had violated a flack's first commandment: Be believable.

In one of the incidents, at the Geneva summit in 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev seemed to be getting the...

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