In the same December 2003 article in which the National Review makes the misleading claim that Reagan spoke about AIDS in the 1986 State of the Union address ( THERE IS NO MENTION OF AIDS IN THE 1986 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS ), there is also, in that same article, an unsourced citation from 1985 when Reagan is said to have responded to reporters' questions about AIDS funding.

The National Review does not provide a link to a source document, but the online Ronald Reagan Library at the University of Texas provides a transcript of a September 17, 1985 press conference that includes the passage cited by the National Review.

(I trust that all DOCUMENTS from the Ronald REAGAN LIBRARY at the University of TEXAS are accurately transcribed - but that's speculation for another day).

Perhaps the National Review did not provide a link to this document- and was highly selective in what they chose to include from the document- because not all of the responses are flattering to Reagan; some make him appear clumsy, unprepared and more than a little unsympathetic.

Reagan responds to 56 questions at this particular press conference, of which 53 are on topics other than AIDS.

Note the use of the words, "it," "this," "plight," and "problem," in what seems to be Reagan's attempt to avoid saying the dreaded word. In these responses- which are not among Reagan's best moments in front of the camera - he only says the word "AIDS" one time.

The first reporter inquires about Reagan's commitment to additional AIDS research and funding. The second reporter asks Reagan if he would allow his children, if they were younger, to attend a school where another student has AIDS.

Here are Reagan's responses- in their entirety- as they were delivered to two White House reporters at Reagan's 32nd press conference on September 17, 1985.


I have been supporting it for more than 4 years now. It's been one of the top priorities with us, and over the last 4 years, and including what we have in the budget for '86, it will amount to over a half a billion dollars that we have provided for research on AIDS in addition to what I'm sure other medical groups are doing. And we have $100 million in the budget this year; it'll be 126 million next year. So, this is a top priority with us. Yes, there's no question about the seriousness of this and the need to find an answer.


I think with our budgetary constraints and all, it seems to me that $126 million in a single year for research has got to be something of a vital contribution.


I'm glad I'm not faced with that problem today. And I can well understand the plight of the parents and how they feel about it. I also have compassion, as I think we all do, for the child that has this and doesn't know and can't have it explained to him why somehow he is now an outcast and can no longer associate with his playmates and schoolmates. On the other hand, I can understand the problem with the parents. It is true that some medical sources had said that this cannot be communicated in any way other than the ones we already know and which would not involve a child being in the school. And yet medicine has not come forth unequivocally and said, "This we know for a fact, that it is safe.'' And until they do, I think we just have to do the best we can with this problem. I can understand both sides of it.

Back there, back -- --

In an effort to remain a trustworthy and reliable source of Internet information- and to be fair and truthful- I will concede that Reagan did, indeed, say the word AIDS - once - in September 1985.

If anyone cares to use this as an example of Reagan's strong leadership on AIDS - muttering the word a single time, when caught off guard in a press conference four years into the epidemic- I guess you have to take what you can get and make the most of it.

LET'S REVIEW: As is frequently, and accurately, reported, it was not until 1987 that Reagan mentioned the word "AIDS" in a speech- and never in any of the seven State of the Union addresses between 1982 and 1988.


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