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Gorbachev: Bush 41 Called Reagan ‘Extreme,’ Said GOP Supporters ‘Blockheads’

Friday, October 30, 2009

By Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story

Vice President George H. W. Bush confided in Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that he believed Ronald Reagan was an "extreme conservative" supported by "blockheads and dummies," the former Soviet leader claims.

"In 1987, after my first visit to the United States, Vice President Bush accompanied me to the airport, and told me: 'Reagan is a conservative. An extreme conservative. All the blockheads and dummies are for him, and when he says that something is necessary, they trust him. But if some Democrat had proposed what Reagan did, with you, they might not have trusted him,'" Gorbachev said in an interview with The Nation.

Gorbachev added that he had been informed that, following their first summit in 1985, Reagan reportedly described his Soviet counterpart as a "die-hard Bolshevik" -- this despite the fact that Gorbachev would soon come to be known as a reformer who opened up the Soviet Union politically and ushered in an era of co-operation between east and west.

It's no surprise that there were tensions between Reagan and the elder Bush. In 1980, the two politicians ran aggressive campaign against each other to secure the Republican nomination for president. During that campaign, Bush famously described Reagan's economic policies as "voodoo economics." Many historians believe Reagan picked Bush as his running mate after the primaries because of Bush's popularity with some segments of the Republican electorate.

In his interview, Gorbachev had praise for Reagan, commending the president for coming to agreements with the Soviet Union on nuclear arms reductions despite large policy differences between the two countries, and some personal animosity between the two leaders....(Remainder.)



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