Nancy Reagan Tells Jim Webb Not To Use Video Of Her Husband
Former First Lady Nancy Reagan has told Democratic Senate nominee James Webb not to use video of Ronald Reagan praising him in campaign ads.
Nancy Reagan has ordered Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb, a former Reagan White House military aide, NOT to use video of her husband praising Webb in an upcoming campaign ad. A three-paragraph letter from the former first lady’s office says the use of footage of President Reagan is “neither authorized nor appropriate.”
An ad Webb intends to begin televising Monday features Reagan praising Webb, then an assistant secretary of defense, during the 1985 U.S. Naval Academy commencement ceremony. On the video Reagan says, “James’ gallantry as a Marine in Vietnam won him the Navy Cross and other decorations.”
Webb was NOT immediately available for comment.
Former Attorney General Edwin Meese was a Reagan adviser. He calls the ad, “improper, unethical and very possibly illegal.”
I’m no lawyer but can’t imagine how the use of video of a then-president praising a then-cabinet officer at a public event at an official event at a public educational institution would be illegal. While Nancy is Ronnie’s widow, she has no right to “order” people not to use her late husband’s official statements.
On the other hand, I can see where Mrs. Reagan and Meese would think it “inappropriate” or “improper” — and perhaps even “unethical” — for a Democrat to use the video of the quintescential modern Republican as an endorsement against a Republican candidate who many believe is an heir to Reagan. Clearly, were Reagan alive and of sound mind, he would be campaigning for Allen, not Webb, in this contest.
I believe it is within the bounds of fair play for the Webb campaign to note that their man is a Vietnam war hero who served as Reagan’s ASD and Navy Secretary–although I bet they’re not going to play up the fact that he resigned in protest over Reagan’s policies. Still, it’s rather amusing to see both candidates in a bitter contest playing up the Reagan angle.
AP story via email from the Allen New Media outreach team.
UPDATE: I find it rather amusing that the AP refers to Webb, a former ASD and SECNAV, as a “military aide.” It’s not as if he was carrying around the president’s nuclear briefcase or arranging his social calendar.