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Reagan Getting 'Steamed' at North Over Reported Iran-Contra Remarks

March 18, 1994|From Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — Former President Ronald Reagan joined the verbal battle in the Virginia Senate race Thursday, saying he was "getting pretty steamed" over what he said were false statements by Republican candidate Oliver L. North.

North was fired from Reagan's National Security Council staff during the Iran-Contra scandal.

Reagan's comments came in an exchange of letters with former Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt, who supports North's GOP opponent, former Reagan budget chief James C. Miller III.

Reagan accused North of lying about the Iran-Contra scandal but stopped short of endorsing Miller.

"But I do have to admit that I am getting pretty steamed about the statements coming from Oliver North. I never instructed him or anyone in my Administration to mislead Congress on Iran-Contra matters or anything else," Reagan wrote. "I certainly did not know anything about the Iran-Contra diversion. And the private meetings he said he had with me just didn't happen."

In a feisty response, North said political opponents had made "blatant and intentional misrepresentations of things I have said," in order to secure the letter from Reagan, "a President that I revere and admire."

Laxalt's letter to Reagan had noted that the former Marine lieutenant colonel wrote in his book, "Under Fire," that Reagan knew everything about Iran-Contra and that North said in a recent television interview that the former President directed him to lie to Congress about the arms-for-hostages scandal.

Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) has said North should not be a candidate because of his felony convictions. Those convictions were overturned on appeal.

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