WASHINGTON — A new book by former White House aide Michael K. Deaver portrays Nancy Reagan as a powerful force in the White House who prods President Reagan into moderating his right-wing views.
"She lobbied the President to soften his line on the Soviet Union, to reduce military spending and not to push 'Star Wars' at the expense of the poor and dispossessed," Deaver writes in "Behind the Scenes."
Excerpts from the book, to be published by William Morrow in February, appeared today in the Washington Times.
Deaver described the First Lady as "like a dog with a bone, she just doesn't give up."
He said she favors a diplomatic solution in Nicaragua and got her husband to fire hard-line conservatives and soften his stance on the Soviet Union.
The former White House aide, an adviser and confidant to the Reagans for 20 years, is now on trial on perjury charges for denying or saying he forgot that he contacted Reagan Administration officials on behalf of clients.
Deaver said he and Nancy Reagan worked to get rid of former National Security Advisers Richard V. Allen, who was too "pro-Taiwan," and William P. Clark, who they felt saw "no hope in any policy that relied on trusting the Russians."
They also got Reagan to fire outspoken Interior Secretary James G. Watt and White House Chief of Staff Donald T. Regan, Deaver said.
He said Nancy Reagan's strategy is to "wage a quiet campaign, planting a thought, recruiting others of us to push it along, making a case: Foreign policy will be hurt, our allies will be let down."
Deaver also revealed that Nancy Reagan and he shared a mutual fondness for certain celebrities and intellectuals who were far from Reagan backers, including the late writer Truman Capote, described as one of her closest friends.
"Others in and around the White House sometimes resented my bipartisan social contacts, but Nancy always wanted to know what the people were like and what was said," Deaver said.
"She was the little girl with her nose pressed up against the candy-store window.
"Nancy Reagan is not uncomfortable among free spirits and intellectuals."