President Ronald Reagan was about to deliver a scheduled radio address on August 11, 1984. While testing his microphone before the speech, Reagan quipped: “My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”
Reagan’s aides laughed heartily at their boss’ obvious joke; many others didn’t. Some dismissed his remark as an example of poor taste while others thought it to be a major embarrassing political gaffe — certainly not his first. Reagan’s sense of humor didn’t play well with the folks at Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations who pretty much ignored him during their compiling of quotes.
Among the Reagan remarks that didn’t find their way into the noted encyclopedia of clever speech included his 1969 response as governor to student protestors at the University of California at Berkeley — “if there has to be a bloodbath then let’s get it over with,” his comparison between politics and prostitution and these gems:
“I’ve noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born.”
“I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.”
“What makes him think a middle-aged actor, who’s played with a chimp, could have a future in politics?”
The Soviets, for their part, were not amused, and the president’s approval rating among American voters nosedived just long enough to give Democrats the fleeting thought that Walter Mondale might soon be president.
“Poor dear, there’s nothing between his ears.” –British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher