President Reagan’s image as a “man’s man” was hurting him with women voters, adviser Elizabeth Dole says in a memo released yesterday in a batch of Reagan records.
“While this characterization has been helpful with men, it may have worked to his detriment with regard to women,” Mrs. Dole, then special assistant to the president for public liaison, wrote in the handwritten draft of a 1982 memo to three Reagan advisers. “An often-heard question is whether the president takes women seriously.”
Mrs. Dole went on to become Reagan’s transportation secretary. She now is running for a Senate seat in North Carolina.
The memo was among 8,000 Reagan presidential papers kept under wraps since January 2001 while the Bush administration developed an executive order to govern release of presidential records from Reagan on.
Still sealed are an additional 60,000 pages of Reagan records and tens of thousands of pages left behind by Mr. Reagan’s vice president, George Bush.
The boxes opened yesterday at the Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif., included the office files of some of his lieutenants.
In one memo, adviser Lyn Nofziger complains the Reagan White House was too supportive of liberal AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland. “When are we going to quit trying to be nice to Lane Kirkland?” Mr. Nofziger asks in his July 1, 1981, memo to Mr. Baker. “He’s out to beat us.”
“I’m beginning to pick up more and more quiet signs of resentment among Labor people who did support us. They don’t figure they’re getting anything and I happen to concur with that.”
The Presidential Records Act allowed the 68,000 pages of records to remain closed for 12 years because they contained confidential internal advice and deliberations among government officials.
The Bush White House, however, delayed opening the files for a year so it could review them and work on an executive order Mr. Bush issued Nov. 1 that gives former presidents more authority to withhold certain papers.