Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan
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President Reagan would have been 98 today. Tonight, I’m attending a screening of “Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous With Destiny,” a new Citizens’ United documentary featuring Newt Gingrich. I thought, to celebrate his birthday at AmSpecBlog, I’d post a clip from this May 15, 1967 debate that Reagan had with Robert F. Kennedy about the Vietnam War. For as much as liberals wanted to portray Reagan as an intellectual lightweight who was only comfortable when reading from a script, this demonstrates that even a few months into his time as governor, he was able to debate international affairs with confidence and command of the facts.

Paul Kengor wrote of the debate:

Reagan performed so well that his presidential boosters sought to use clips from the debate during the 1968 Oregon presidential primary, and requested a copy from CBS. Kennedy, however, reportedly did not want the video to be made available; CBS, naturally, acceded to his request. Kennedy himself conceded defeat to Reagan, telling his aides after the debate to never again put him on the same stage with “that son-of-a-bitch.” Kennedy was heard to ask immediately after the debate, “Who the f—- got me into this?” Frank Mankiewicz was that aide, as Kennedy was quick to remind him a few weeks later: “You’re the guy who got me into that Reagan thing.”

In this clip from the town hall meeting, Reagan mixes it up with an angry British student. A full transcript of the debate is available here.

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