Vice President George Bush reacted strongly to a report that First Lady Nancy Reagan is not supportive of his presidential campaign and sent a letter to her, saying, “I’ll be damned if I let anything nasty come between us,” an aide disclosed today.
Elaine Crispen, Mrs. Reagan’s press secretary, described as “sheer foolishness” reports in Time magazine and by the Knight-Ridder Syndicate that the First Lady did not have “much affection or trust for Bush” and was reluctant to turn the White House over to the vice president and his wife, Barbara.
“She’s totally supportive of them,” Crispen said. “There’s no feud between them.”
She said Mrs. Reagan telephoned Bush on Monday, telling him that she had read the reports and that “of course it wasn’t true.” The First Lady also expressed her chagrin to Barbara Bush.
Crispen said the vice president, who was “very distressed over the malicious stories,” told Mrs. Reagan that he wrote a note to her on his campaign plane when he saw the report, and assured her that he understood.
Crispen said Bush’s note said: “I’ll be damned if I let anything nasty come between us. You and the President deserve much better than two damn stories.”
Time magazine, in a section titled “Grapevine,” noted that Mrs. Reagan did not attend a “star-studded” rally for Bush and his running mate, Sen. Dan Quayle (R-Ind.) at the Century Plaza hotel in Los Angeles, refusing to come down from her suite when her husband made an appearance.
The magazine said: “Barbara has remarked to friends that Nancy is strikingly ungrateful for all the loyalty and deference the Bushes have shown the Reagans for eight years.”
The newspaper syndicate reported that Mrs. Reagan is reluctant to leave the White House after her eight-year occupancy. “Nancy Reagan can’t bear to make her exit,” it said.
“The stories are not true,” presidential spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said today.
He called the stories “outrageous” and said it would be wrong to assume the President’s wife did not support Bush because she has not been present at some campaign appearances.