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Stockman Says He Was a 'Fool' to Support Reagan's Policies

April 23, 1986|United Press International

WASHINGTON — Former White House budget chief David A. Stockman said today he made a "damned fool" of himself defending Administration economic policies he didn't believe but said he did so hoping that one day he could change President Reagan's mind.

"I believed that surely once it was understood . . . once the facts and the numbers and the palpable realities (were revealed), we could get it corrected," Stockman told a news conference to kick off sales of his kiss-and-tell book about his 1981-85 tenure in the Reagan Administration.

"That's why I stayed," Stockman said. "But obviously that failed."

In his book "The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed," Stockman describes Reagan as an affable man who could not understand basic economic concepts and was led astray by incompetent advisers.

Today he described Administration economic policies as "a total mishap" that produced record budget deficits and left America's fiscal position near bankruptcy.

Stockman said he was talked out of resigning in mid-1984 by then-White House Chief of Staff James A. Baker III, who told the budget chief that a resignation at that time would damage Reagan's bid for a second term in office.

In hindsight, Stockman said, he should have quit then.

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