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Larry Speakes
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    (September 13, 1939-January 10, 2014)
    Born in Cleveland, Mississippi
    Acting White House Press Secretary for Ronald Reagan (1981-87)
    Wrote the memoirs 'Speaking Out' (1988)
    After Reagan related a bogus anecdote as a historic fact, Speakes said, 'If you tell the same story five times, it's true.'
    He snapped at the press corps, 'You don't tell us how to stage the news and we don't tell you how to report it.'
    Sam Donaldson said, 'Speakes has always had a bad habit of trying to belittle questioners when he can get away with it.'
    In his memoirs, he revealed that after the Soviets shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007 (1983), he assigned statements by George Shultz to Reagan since 'the President had almost nothing to say.'
    Similarly, after a 1985 summit with Mikhail Gorbachev, he made up quotes and attributed them to Reagan, whose actual utterances had been 'very tentative and stilted.'
    Chris Wallace said, 'When there is an embarrassing subject or a tough issue for the President, Larry is very clever at finding ways of deflating questions or turning them aside.'
    He argued putting words in Reagan's mouth was not lying because 'I know those quotes were how he felt.'
    In the wake of the controversy over the made-up quotes, he resigned a $400,000-a-year job as spokesperson for Merrill Lynch.
    After he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, he became the center of a bitter custody battle between his third wife and two of his children from an earlier marriage.

Credit: C. Fishel

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