Reagan diary entry about George W. Bush-Fiction!

Unflattering Comment About George  W. Bush in the Diaries of Ronald Reagan-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

An alleged quote from the published diaries of U.S. President Ronald Reagan calling George W. Bush a “n’er-do-well” who “hangs around here all the time looking shiftless” and at the age of 40 “has never had a real job.”  The diary entry says “Maybe I’ll call Kinsley over at the New Republic and see if they’ll hire him as a contributing editor or something.”

The Truth:

This quote is not from Ronald Reagan and was not published in his diaries.

The background of this story is that George W. Bush’s father was Mr. Reagan’s Vice President and the quote was designed to appear as though it was written during Regan’s years in the White House.

The truth is that the “Kinsley” referred to in the quote is columnist Michael Kinsley who got a phone call from a friend in 2007 to tell him that his name had ended up in “The Reagan Diaries” that had been recently published.

Kinsley looked onto it and found that he was indeed mentioned as one of a handful of reporters who supposedly had an “off the record” lunch with President Reagan in March, 1986.  Kinsley puzzled at that because he doesn’t remember such a luncheon.

In July, 2007, Kinsley wrote an article for The New Republic titled “My Lunch with Reagan” in which he smilingly recounted what could have run through his mind after he first heard that he appeared in the diaries. 

Such as:

“January 22, 1983. Mommie says that Kinsley’s column this week in The New Republic undermines the entire philosophical basis of my administration. O dear O dear, I had better not read it.”  The reference to “Mommie” was about Nancy Reagan.

And then he added,

“May 17, 1986. A moment I’ve been dreading. George brought his ne’er-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida. The one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I’ll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they’ll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work.”

So the quote did not really appear in the Reagan diaries.  It was in Kinsley’s humorous article.

Updated 4/1/08

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

This is an actual quote that Reagan wrote about George “W” in his diaries, recently edited by author Doug Brinkley and published by Harper Collins

“A moment I’ve been dreading. George brought his n’er-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida ; the one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I’ll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they’ll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work.”

From the REAGAN DIARIES——entry dated May 17, 1986.