Good Morning America on Sunday continued to hype the very liberal Ron Reagan and the claims in his new book that his father showed early signs of Alzheimer's while in the White House. The network has now devoted 28 minutes to interviews and segments on the allegations. Host Bianna Golodryga even laughed at Reagan's Sarah Palin joke.
After asking the author what President Reagan would have thought of the former governor of Alaska, Ron Reagan replied, "He would say that, well, she seems like a nice young woman and perhaps, in years to come, with a little more seasoning, she might want to consider running for high office." This prompted Golodryga to giggle and repeat, "A little more seasoning." She then laughed again when he retorted, "Yeah. Or maybe even a lot more."
The Sunday GMA co-host encouraged Ron Reagan to speak for his father: "What do you think your dad would have thought about the political divisiveness we see now?"
Despite giving 28 minutes to Ron Reagan, GMA has yet to feature the new book by his conservative brother, Michael Reagan.
A transcript of the January 23 segment, which aired at 8:42am, follows:
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: As President Ronald Reagan's family prepares to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birthday next month, the late President's two sons are in a family feud. Michael Reagan calls his half brother, Ron, quote, "an embarrassment" after Ron suggested in his new book, My Father at 100, that their father showed early signs of Alzheimer's while he was this the White House. I recently had the chance to speak with Ron and I began by asking him how his mother was handling it all.
RON REAGAN: She's doing fine, actually. She'll be 90 in July of year. She's sharp as a tack. I spoke to her last night.
GOLODRYGA: And I'm assuming she gave you feedback or she gave you feedback about the book.
REAGAN: I did. I said I am going to be on TV and they're going to ask me what you think of the book. What should I tell them. She said, "You tell them that I read it, I loved it. It made me cry and I'm very proud of you."
GOLODRYGA: She's very proud of you.
REAGAN: It's such a mom thing to say.
GOLODRYGA: It's such a mom thing to say. Obviously, we've heard about what your brother thought of the book. He called you an embarrassment to the family. How do you respond to that?
REAGAN: Well, I don't respond to that kind of thing. Again, given what my mother told me, apparently, he was incorrect and perhaps should have checked with her before speaking for her. So, as far as I know I'm not an embarrassment to my mother and never was to my father either.
GOLODRYGA: What do you think your dad would have thought about the political divisiveness we see now?
REAGAN: Well, I think like a lot of Americans now, he would be very upset about it. He was a very civil man. He was a gentleman, always. The atmosphere when he was President is not what it is today. And I think he would be deeply disappointed by the vitriol that he's seen, particularly directed at the White House.
GOLODRYGA: What do you think he would think of Sarah Palin?
REAGAN: I don't know what he would think of Sarah Palin. I'm quite sure that if you asked him and he were here, he would be very nice about it. He would say that, well, she seems like a nice young woman and perhaps, in years to come, with a little more seasoning, she might want to consider running for high office.
GOLODRYGA: [Laughs]: A little more seasoning.
REAGAN: Yeah, or maybe even a lot more.
GOLODRYGA: [Laughs again]: When it comes to politics, you and your dad it's been known for years, differed on your opinions.
REAGAN: Well, sure.
GOLODRYGA: And did you have political debates? Would you sit around the dinner table and-
REAGAN: Oh, sure. We disagreed about the Vietnam War.
GOLODRYGA: Did he listen to what you had to say? Did he ask your opinion, knowing it was different than his?
REAGAN: I would usually bring it up. I would probably start the arguments. I don't think he solicited my opinion that often about things he knew I would disagree with him on.
GOLODRYGA: Did you vote for him?
REAGAN: I voted for him both times.
GOLODRYGA: And you vote for him as a son?
REAGAN: Absolutely I'm voting for my dad. Are you kidding? I can work on him. Get in the White House and I can change things.
GOLODRYGA: You can help change things, whisper in his ear. What is it that you learned about your father that struck you the most from researching this book?
REAGAN: Most of the book is about his early life. As I went back and looked at his childhood and researched that, I found an undersized little boy who was often lonely and was often alone. And he cultivated a solitary side of himself. And, that, I think, is where he, kind of, became a story teller. And his opus is really himself. He is his greatest story. He created himself, in a sense, in those afternoons alone in the dusty attics, in a neighbor's jewelry store, out in a field, and by the river and everything. He was a solitary figure who was very comfortable in front of the public, oddly enough. It's one of the paradoxes of his character.
DAN HARRIS: It's a fascinating interview. I understand you also spoke about the situation in Tucson.
GOLODRYGA: I did. I asked him what his thoughts were, given that an assassination attempt was made on Gabby Giffords and the same was made on his father 30 years ago. And he said it took him back to that day, just the fear as a son, not knowing if your parent will survive something like that. It really came back and haunted him. The controversy that sparked the issue and feud between his brother was that he came out and said he thought he saw the early signs of Alzheimers just within three years of his father's presidency.
HARRIS: Interesting. Really interesting and that family feud continues to this day.
— Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.