In his Nov. 8 op-ed, “Slandering Reagan,” George F. Will claimed that Bill O’Reilly slandered Ronald Reagan in his book “Killing Reagan” for “supposed lassitude and manipulability” after the 1981 assassination attempt. Mr. Will was agitated about the “flimsy” fiction that senior aides contemplated using the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove Reagan from office. When Reagan was in surgery, the vice president took over.
Mr. Will would have preferred, according to a 1985 column, a transfer of power to the president’s wife: “Fortunately for the president, and for a nation fixated by the presidency, the first lady is a doctor’s daughter who, if the 25th Amendment provided for transferring power to First Ladies, could have proven, in just eight hours, how formidable a person in a size four dress can be. In George Bush’s eight hours as acting president, the deficit increased by $200 million. Nancy never would have allowed that.”
In his spat with Mr. O’Reilly, Mr. Will slapped me for writing a “scabrous” book, “Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography,” in which I reported that the conservative columnist had framed and prominently displayed a color photo of the former first lady on which she had written, in her schoolgirl scrawl, “And the little girl grew up and began going out to lunch with a well-known columnist in Washington. Rest is history. LOVE.”
Kitty Kelley, Washington