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Tags: Robert Kennedy | Ronald Reagan

Author: Bobby Kennedy Was Ronald Reagan's 'Supreme Villain'

Author: Bobby Kennedy Was Ronald Reagan's 'Supreme Villain'
(Staff/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 05 December 2014 03:59 PM EST

Robert Kennedy was “the supreme villain” in Ronald Reagan’s life, a former aide claims.

Thomas Reed, who managed and directed Reagan’s California gubernatorial bids, as well as his 1968 presidential nomination drive, writes in his book “The Reagan Enigma”
that the animosity began in 1962, when Reagan was hauled before a federal grand jury to be questioned about using his influence as then-president of the Screen Actor’s Guild, The Daily Caller reports.

Reed writes that the Department of Justice, which Kennedy headed as attorney general, after that appearance promptly “subpoenaed Reagan’s tax returns for 1952-1955,” the Daily Caller reports.

And a few months later, Kennedy tried to get Reagan fired from “General Electric Theater,” Reagan believed, Reed told the Daily Caller.

“ ‘Dad told us he had just lost his job with GE,’ ” Reed says Reagan's son Michael Reagan told him. “He said [GE President] Ralph Cordiner had called him earlier to report that he [Cordiner] had been contacted by Bobby Kennedy, who had said: ‘If you want government contracts, get Reagan off the air.’ ”

“Getting even with Kennedy was on his agenda,” Reed told the Daily Caller.

The podcast of the interview was posted by writer Matt Lewis.

Reagan and Kennedy years later appeared together in a televised debate in 1967 on the subject of the Vietnam War, and Newsweek magazine declared the “political rookie Reagan … left old campaigner Kennedy blinking when the session ended.”

Kennedy reportedly huffed after the debate: “Don’t ever put me on stage with that sonofabitch again,” the Daily Caller reports.

Reed told the Daily Caller that Reagan’s presidential campaign in 1968 was actually fueled by a desire to get even with Kennedy.

“It really accounts for why Reagan, who was sort of casual about whether he was going to run for president in ’68, came alive,” Reed told the Daily Caller. “In March of ’68, Johnson is out, Kennedy is in, and Reagan puts the throttle full forward. And he is now a real candidate, going hammers and tongs….”

But when Kennedy was assassinated the following June, “Reagan sort of lays back and goes through the motions, but he is changed,” Reed told the Daily Caller. “Bobby Kennedy was the supreme villain in Ronald Reagan’s life.”

The Daily Caller reports the animosity between Reagan, as Screen Actors Guild president, and then-Attorney General Kennedy is consistent with what Reagan’s daughter Maureen wrote in her memoirs, “First Father, First Daughter”.

“I’ve always suspected, and I’m sure Dad agrees with me on this one, that Bobby Kennedy had a hand in all this,” she writes, the Daily Caller notes. “I think the Kennedy Administration saw in Dad’s remarks a backhanded slur against their way of doing things.”

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Politics
Robert Kennedy was “the supreme villain” in Ronald Reagan’s life, a former aide claims.
Robert Kennedy, Ronald Reagan
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2014-59-05
Friday, 05 December 2014 03:59 PM
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