Tip o’the Hat Reveals Gaffe o’the Day

From a Times Staff Writer

While House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill Jr. (D-Mass.) was saying that President Reagan “landed on his head” when he was forced to impose sanctions on South Africa, gleeful House Republicans were chortling over what landed on the Speaker’s hats.

Clearly written in the souvenir terrycloth hats that were distributed at O’Neill’s annual golf tournament Monday were the words “Made in South Africa.”

Staunchly conservative Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.), recounting the incident on the House floor Tuesday, chided, “It won’t do much good for the Republicans to condemn apartheid if the Democrats are going to keep boosting South Africa’s economy.”

Hyde also didn’t miss an opportunity to take a jab in another area where Democrats have criticized Reagan--his opposition to legislation to protect the textile industry and other firms against imports.

“With our textile industry in such trouble, I hope next time the Democrats will ‘buy America,’ ” Hyde said.


O’Neill’s reaction: “I’m looking for the fellow who bought those hats.”