Presidential freebies came under scrutiny yesterday, when the White House released a list of the gifts that the Reagans kept last year. Besides the now-famous First Puppy, a black Bouvier sheep dog, the president accepted a revolver engraved with his signature, a chain saw with accessories and four hearing aids.
At the same time, Vice President George Bush listed 26 pairs of running shoes, a pair of cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, a bulletproof vest, a Houston Astros jacket and a rifle from the Khyber Pass riflemen.
The disclosure forms, filed with the Office of Government Ethics, list 18 givers to the Reagans, whose gifts totaled $7,156, and 41 donors to the Bushes, totaling $8,989. The law says the president and vice president and their spouses must report gifts worth more than $100 if kept. Foreign gifts worth more than $165 have to be given to the government.
The most expensive gifts were the hearing aids, valued at $3,000 and given by Burton Associates of Santa Ana, Calif., and Starkey Labs Inc. of Minneapolis.
Leopold J. Deters, president of Smith and Wesson, gave a .44 Magnum revolver engraved with the president's signature. "The president liked it and decided to keep it," said a White House spokesman. He did not know, however, where the president keeps the gun.
"If he needs a permit, he'll get it," White House spokesman Larry Speakes said yesterday.
Bush's top-ticket items were the running shoes. The $1,040 gift to daily jogger Bush from longtime friend and shoe manufacturer Jim Autry, of Dallas, was quickly explained. "He kept one or two pairs and gave the rest to the Secret Service and friends," said a spokeswoman.
A leather flight jacket from Navy Secretary John Lehman valued at $130 was given to Bush in September on the 40th anniversary of a bombing raid over Japan during which Bush's plane was shot down. He was given the replica at a reunion with the pilots and submarine crew.
His Houston Astros jacket was a souvenir of opening day last year when Bush threw out the first ball. At the time he also received an original Leroy Neiman painting of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, a friend of Bush. The vice president's office placed the value at $385.
Peter Sammartino, the chancellor of Fairleigh Dickinson University, recalled yesterday that he gave Bush two of his own books, "I Dreamed a College" and "The President of a Small College," during a campaign reception. "The congressional candidate didn't win," said Sammartino, "but I cross paths with the vice president in Maine."
Nancy Reagan's gifts included a four-volume 1985 diary from friends Lee Annenberg and Harriet Deutsch, valued at $440. Annenberg said the dairy was given as a gesture of friendship.
"We just wanted her to have a little diary in which to put her thoughts because she is having such an interesting time," said Annenberg, who was Reagan's first chief of protocol. "We don't know, however, if she is using it." A spokesperson for Mrs. Reagan said the first lady is using the diary.
Another longtime friend, Dru Heinz, stepmother of Sen. John H. Heinz, III (R-Pa.) sent Mrs. Reagan a lap blanket, valued at $400.
Not all the first lady's gifts were from close friends. Loretta Pogson of Farmington, Conn., sent Mrs. Reagan a blended brown and white hand-spun, hand-knitted wool sweater valued by the White House at $200. "That's a very low price, believe me," said Pogson yesterday.
She sent it to Mrs. Reagan after hearing last fall that the Reagans would have an all-wool wardrobe to promote the U.S. wool industry.
"It's very discouraging that people will spend a great deal of money on imported yarn but won't buy domestic, so I thought the sweater for Mrs. Reagan might show what the quality of American wool could be if properly handled," said Pogson, who now raises her own sheep but bought the wool for Mrs. Reagan's sweater from a neighboring farmer.
Among the donated artwork the Reagans kept were three paintings. One was a $150 oil of elephants by J.J. Oling of Torrance, Calif., a friend of a Reagan ranch hand. Another was a Camp David scene, valued at $200, by Nina Tabares of Falls Church. A third was a $750 watercolor of an American Indian by Olaf Wieghorst of El Cajon, Calif., whom Mrs. Reagan describes as the president's favorite artist, according to an aide. All three artists were also the donors.
Other gifts included two riding crops, valued at $130, from Eduardo Sanchez Junco of Madrid, Spain; a 1984 Olympic commemorative telephone valued at $325 from Arthur C. Latno of San Francisco and Harold Boel of Washington; a $450 wristwatch from a Brooklyn, N.Y., police group; a book of Reagan's genealogy from the people of Ballyporeen, Ireland, of indeterminable value; six movie videocassettes, valued at $210, from Frank Rothman of Culver City, Calif.; and the chain saw with accessories plus a tie tack, valued at $238, from the Secret Service Presidential Protective Division.
Among the other gifts Bush kept were a bulletproof vest from Lazar Blumenfeld of Bayonne, N.J., ($325); a 29-volume history of Ecuador in Spanish from President Leon Febres-Cordero ($100); a rifle and a wool jacket from the riflemen of Khyber Pass (together, $190); cowboy boots from Thomas Blexrud of St. Paul ($100); and a cowboy hat from John Rosholt of Boise ($100).
Neither the White House nor Bush's office listed the gifts that weren't kept.