Skip to comments.Reagan Son Claims Dad Had Alzheimer's as President
Posted on 01/14/2011 10:34:16 AM PST by Arec Barrwin
Reagan Son Claims Dad Had Alzheimer's as President
2011 is a big year for Ronald Reagan fans, being the centennial of his February 6 birth in Tampico, Ill. But youngest son Ron Reagan is spoiling the good cheer with a new book that suggests the Gipper suffered from Alzheimer's disease while in the White House, a claim dismissed by Reagan's doctors and outside experts. "Had the diagnosis been made in, say, 1987, would he have stepped down?" Ron asks, regarding the disease confirmed in 1994. "I believe he would have," he writes in My Father At 100: A Memoir, due in bookstores Tuesday. [Poll: Who do you think was the worst president?]
In addition to challenging the former president's doctors, Ron also reports for the first time that Reagan, right after falling off a horse six months out of the White House, underwent brain surgery, denied by Reagan associates.
Let's start with the Alzheimer's diagnosis. It was announced in 1994. While it prompted some to suggest they knew Reagan had the disease as president, his four White House doctors said they saw no evidence of it. But Ron, who became a liberal and atheist, disappointing his dad, 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. [See a gallery of caricatures of Reagan and other pols.]
Besides playing amateur doctor, Ron Reagan reveals, if true, brain surgery on his dad never before reported. He accurately reports that Reagan, after leaving the presidency, was bucked from a horse on July 4, 1989, while in Mexico. Ron tells of how his dad, after initially refusing medical help, was transported to a San Diego hospital. "Surgeons opening his skull to relieve pressure on the brain emerged from the operating room with the news that they had detected what they took to be probable signs of Alzheimer's disease." Several Reagan associates, however, say there was no surgery in San Diego.
What's more there is no reporting about any San Diego operation on Reagan. News reports at the time of his fall say Reagan was flown to a hospital in Arizona, where he was treated for scrapes and bruises and released after five hours.
There were no reports of Reagan with a shaved head or skull stitches later that month when he served as a guest TV announcer at the July 11 baseball All-Star Game in Anaheim, Calif., or when he was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City on July 21.
In September, he went to the Mayo Clinic, where a small burr hole was drilled to relieve a fluid buildup due to the fall.
Ron Reagan doesn't mention this, but says that Reagan visited the Mayo Clinic in 1990 for tests that "confirmed the initial suspicion of Alzheimer's." Reagan's post-presidency history, documented in several archives like University of Texas, reveal no such visit. And Dr. John E. Hutton Jr. his doctor from 1984 through Reagan's retirement, told the New York Times that Reagan didn't show the tell-tale symptoms until 1993.
Ron Reagan won't talk about his book until its release, says his publisher Viking. The publisher also didn't provide documents backing up the San Diego operation claim.
Here are key excerpts from Ron Reagan about his dad's situation from My Father At 100, A Memoir.
Early hints that Ronald Reagan's mind was fuzzy:
"Three years into his first term as president, though, I was feeling the first shivers of concern that something beyond mellowing was affecting my father. We had always argued over this issue or that, rarely with anything approaching belligerence, but vigorously all the same. He generally had the advantage of practiced talking points backed up by staff research, but I was an unabashed, occasionally effective advocate for my own positions. 'He told me you make him feel stupid,' my mother once shared, to my alarm. I didn't want my father to feel stupid. If he was going to shoulder massive responsibility, I wanted him to feel on top of his game. If he was going to fulfill his duties as president, he would have to be." Pages 204-205
"Watching the first of his two debates with 1984 Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale, I began to experience the nausea of a bad dream coming true. At 73, Ronald Reagan would be the oldest president ever reelected. Some voters were beginning to imagine grandpawho can never find his reading glassesin charge of a bristling nuclear arsenal, and it was making them nervous. Worse, my father now seemed to be giving them legitimate reason for concern. My heart sank as he floundered his way through his responses, fumbling with his notes, uncharacteristically lost for words. He looked tired and bewildered." Page 205.
"My father might himself have suspected that all was not as it should be. As far back as August 1986 he had been alarmed to discover, while flying over the familiar canyons north of Los Angeles, that he could no longer summon their names." Page 218.
The July 4, 1989 horse bucking and discovery of Alzheimer's:
"In July 1989, barely six months out of office, my father visited friends in Mexico. While out riding he was thrown when his horse shied at something in the trailside scrub. That my father, even at age 78, would be bucked off his mount was, in itself, an ominous sign. It's a wonder he didn't break any bones, but he did hit his head hard enough to cause a sizable contusion. After initially refusing medical attention, he ultimately relented and was transported to a hospital in San Diego. Surgeons opening his skull to relieve pressure on the brain emerged from the operating room with the news that they had detected what they took to be probable signs of Alzheimer's disease. No formal diagnosis was given, as far as I know. I have since learned from a doctor who happened to be interning at the hospital when my father was brought in that surgeons involved in his care, in what my informant characterized as 'shameful' behavior, violated my father's right to medical privacy by subsequently gossiping about his condition." Page 217.
"Doctors recommended to my mother that further tests of cognition be conducted the following year to measure any decline. Those tests, at the Mayo Clinic, confirmed the initial suspicion of Alzheimer's." Page 217.
"I've seen no evidence that my father (or anyone else) was aware of his medical condition while he was in office. Had the diagnosis been made in, say 1987, would he have stepped down? I believe he would have. Far less was known about the disease then, of course, than is known now. Today we are aware that the physiological and neurological changes associated with Alzheimer's can be in evidence years, even decades, before identifiable symptoms arise. The question, then, of whether my father suffered from the beginning stages of Alzheimer's while in office more or less answers itself." Pages 217-218.
Yeah what did George W Bush once said
I got my father eyes but my mom mouth LOL!
Ron Reagan without makeup.
Or is it the other way around?
Sure, help yourself.
...since he's bringing such things up?
It will probably end up at the Dollar Tree or some other dollar store outlet.
Forget about it...
What a load of crap. I can not believe that a man would write that HE made his father feel “stupid”...what an arrogant insignificant twit! He has never done one thing without riding his daddy’s coat tails.
Such a good thing that Reagan had Maureen and Michael..they must have been a great comfort to him.
He remembered the canyons, but could not verbalize the names. That is a sign of Alzheimers. Loss of the ability to read, and speak coherently. We KNOW that Reagan had alzheimers...
I wish you wouldn’t say garbage like this. Geez! If you knew Ronald Reagan, you knew he adored his wife and his kids. And Nancy has never loved anyone but Ronny. She devoted her life to making him happy, and she did. She went through a lot for that man.
There is no reason to besmirch her reputation and insult her. She loves her son. Shame on him for hurting her with more insults against the man she loved so much.
Ron is a creep for writing this.
I had the same thoughts. Since Ronny is so intelligent that he made the Great Ronald Reagan quake in his riding boots...why hasn’t Ronny made something of himself? Why hasn’t he been able to live off his own intelligence?
What a stupid thing to say. I think Ronny has an inflated sense of himself.
Absolutely. Can not help but see what a difference Jesus made in the Reagan’s life. Those who believe had productive lives of their own; those who don’t believe, make their living off of critisizing the beliefs of those who do....interesting.
Tell me about the Turmeric....please.
I’m very late to this *article* and I’m not going to bother to finish reading it.
His mother should cut him completely out of her will.
Can’t say I blame you.
And GW was a stupid cowboy. Says the commies.
When someone told Lincoln that Grant (his most successful general) was a heavy drinker, his response was “Well find out what he drinks and pass it around to the other generals”.
And in that same spirit, let’s pray that our current and future presidents get the same Alzheimer’s that the greatest POTUS of my lifetime had.
P.S. What a pathetic little puke ballerina boy is.
There's not much more to say about little Ronnie.
Ronnie, Jr. needs to stop beating up on his old man. Doing so posthumously is despicable.
Even if Reagan had Alzheimers he was 10 times the President Obama is.
I think he hates him to the extent that he knows he will never come close to being the man his father was ~ and that galls him.
This guy was always a loser probably a disappointment to his dad.
He actually only had one, Maureen, with Jane...Michael was adopteds by them......but there was no third child.
OMG!! Separated at BIRTH!! Maddow and Reagan are TWINS!
I suppose Alzheimer’s can develop over time, and that it is possible that Reagan had early stages of it during his Presidency, maybe the latter part. Or maybe forgetting the names of familiar canyons was caused by normal age-related forgetfulness. Neither factor seemed to have much effect on his abilities as President. His results, which are the best of any recent President, speak for themselves.
It is disrespectful for Ron Jr to bring this up now. It is already a matter of record that Reagan suffered from Alzheimers after his Presidency. People can make up their own minds as to what the impact was before or after he left office.
But the only impact this “disclosure” has is to get some cheap buzz for Ron Jr’s book and give anti-Reagan people a chance to criticize. Either way, it is pretty crummy of the son.
President Reagan’s accomplishments speak for themselves.
Reagan with alzheimers is still smarter than our favorite marxist
“That little tw*t. I want to hear from Micheal.”
I will say it......And still the greatest president ever. Put your tutu back on Jr.
There is nothing worse that trying to present proof that backs up your opinion to a loved relative, only to have them come back with a response like Ronnie does, which is to BELITTLE you instead of disputing the facts point by point. It is quite relevant, that he ascribes President Reagans "points" to practice, and others research. Not to his own memory of what he has learned. Since we all know the kinds of "points" Ronnie would advocate for, we can easily assume it was pro-abortion, pro-gay rights(including gay marriage), anti-war, and for massive govt intervention at all levels. The communist left is the one with the talking points, and it is a common tactic to assign their PRACTICED SPIEL to their enemies. Ronnie Reagan, you sully the name boy.
It’s obvious that there is a Ron Reagan with premature Alzheimer’s symptoms. That is, Ron JR.
This should get you started.
John Kerry’s mini me
“There were no reports of Reagan with a shaved head or skull stitches later that month when he served as a guest TV announcer at the July 11 baseball All-Star Game in Anaheim, Calif.,”
That’s the proof he’s lying. Reagan would have had half of his head shaved at the least if a window was cut into the skull to relieve pressure. And how would the Drs been able to tell he had Alzheimer’s just by looking at the brain? It might show widening sulci but that’s common for any older person. The only way to document proof through observation of brain tissue is to take a biopsy and see neurofibrillary tangles under the microscope.
“He remembered the canyons, but could not verbalize the names. That is a sign of Alzheimers. Loss of the ability to read, and speak coherently. We KNOW that Reagan had alzheimers...”
He wasn’t suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in 1983. He was suffering from having some lousy children. I occasionally have long-term memory lapses, and my short-term memory is sharp. It happens to almost everyone.
Here is Reagan in December 1992, 20 months before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He was still functioning quite well, as you can see for yourself:
“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is
To have a thankless child!”
Shakespeare, “King Lear”, Act 1 Scene 4
I won’t argue with that!
Thank you so much. Can’t wait to add Tumeric to my coffee!
I have an auto-immune disease and have tried everything else..gonna give this a go! Thanks!
Hi, you’ve probably posted your link before but I didn’t notice. Where did you get it from? I’d like to use it with my liberal friends.
I took this story as motivation to visit the Reagan Library website. I took the video tour, narrated by Gary Sinise.
What a man, what a life, what an inspiration.
I urge everyone not to get bogged down or distracted by what leftist losers say. Just stay optimistic about your faith, family, country and your ability to shape your own destiny in this still great country. That’s what President Reagan would do.
Thank you for telling me what I’ve suspected all along. Of course he’s a nasty, spiteful poofter.
I was originally steered to it by a friend with MS as an anti-inflammatory.
I try to use tuneric and cinnamon on as many foods as possible (Need to save what few brain cells I have left)..
I am taking a lot of heat from the people here on my fuzzy memories. I just remembered that he had two daughters with Jane. One died a day later. I also don’t see how being adopted does not make you a member of the family. As far as I am concerned, he is. Maybe his birth mother should have aborted him to avoid the shame of being adopted and not really being a member of his adoptive family. That is the message I am getting here at FR. Pretty sad.
Dumb way to promote the book. Upon hearing that line, most people will think: “...Reagan with Alzheimer’s is better than what we got now”.
How would that faggot know he was as much as disowned!
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