Reagan's Son Calls Bio 'Fair'

Controversial Memoir Has A Defender

At least one person close to Ronald Reagan thinks the much maligned biography about the former president is right on the money. Reagan's son, Ron Prescott Reagan, tells 60 Minutes' Lesley Stahl that he agrees with Edmund Morris' view of his father, saying in his first public remarks about the book that it is a fair and accurate portrayal.

The interview will be broadcast on CBS News' 60 Minutes on Sunday, Oct. 10.

"I think [Morris] was as fair as anybody ever has been to my father," says Reagan.

The truth Morris hits on in Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan lies somewhere between the expectations of Reagan's proponents and his opponents, his son says. "There are some people who would rather this be...Republican propaganda...Ronnie riding across Reagan country heading for that shining city on a hill," he tells Stahl, "and...others who would rather see a public flogging. Both of those sides complain, but people more attuned to the truth, I think, will find it in the book," says Reagan, "[The book is] as accurate a portrait as you can make of this very strange, as Edmund says, fellow...I think everybody in his family has found him, on some level, inscrutable."

Morris' controversial insertion of fictional characters to help tell the Reagan story doesn't bother the former president's son. "I think you begin to catch on to the device and understand that he's using these fictional characters to, in fact, give you factual information....It all rings true, at least to me," Reagan tells Stahl.

Reagan does disagree with one aspect of Morris' portrayal of his father: he says that his father's becoming president was due more to pressure from Nancy Reagan than to his own inner drive. "[Nancy Reagan] has helped [President Reagan] a lot. I don't think...he would have gotten to where he got to...I doubt [he would have become president]," says Reagan, "because she has more ambition than he does. Edmund perceives this slow, inexorable...movement towards the inevitability of the presidency. I think if left to his own devices, he might have ended up hosting Unsolved Mysteries on TV or something," Reagan says. "I think she saw in him that stuff that could be president and saw the opportunity...and kept pushing and kept pushing and kept pushing," says Reagan.