Reagan Spends New Year's Watching Football

Times Staff Writer

After seeing out the old year with a traditional dinner-and-dancing bash at the estate of friend Walter H. Annenberg, President Reagan began the new year Wednesday like a lot of other Americans: with a schedule of football games on television.

White House press spokesmen said Wednesday that Reagan conducted "routine paper work" early in the day, then tuned in the televised address to the American people by Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev. But the day's main occupation, the White House indicated in a statement, was watching a round of afternoon bowl games.

For the Reagans and their retinue of Washington press aides and advisers, the four-day stay in this exclusive desert spa has clearly been a time to push politics and world affairs out of mind.

Reagan's own televised message to the Soviets, also broadcast Wednesday, was taped in a Los Angeles hotel room before the Reagans flew to Palm Springs. Even a message of friendship to the Japanese people, officially released on New Year's Day, was handed out to reporters days in advance.

The Reagans have been unavailable to all but close friends. Details of their celebrity-studded New Year's Eve party at the Annenberg estate were not released. However, Secretary of State George P. Shultz, White House Chief of Staff Donald T. Regan, U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Z. Wick and Sen. Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.) were among the government officials understood to have attended.

Today, the Reagans will return to Los Angeles, where the President is expected to prepare for a "mini-summit" meeting with Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid on Friday in the border town of Mexicali, Mexico. After three hours of meetings and lunch, Reagan is to return to Washington late Friday.

Mrs. Reagan on Friday will visit her ailing 89-year-old mother, Edith Robbins, in Phoenix, Ariz.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World