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Recalling Larry Speakes Who Died At Age 74, Acting White House Press Secretary For President Reagan

January 11, 2014

Another face from the past is gone.


He worked in the West Wing in a pre-Internet era, when the tense exchanges with reporters took place twice a day and deadlines were geared toward the morning papers and the networks’ nightly news programs. He was regarded as having a straightforward but sometimes acerbic style by journalists who bristled at the administration’s attempts to manage the news.

Mr. Speakes made news himself in 1988, after he left the White House, when he published a memoir in which he said that as spokesman he had attributed two quotations to Reagan that the president did not say, and later told him about it. The revelations infuriated members of the administration, and Reagan said he did not know of the quotations until Mr. Speakes’ book, “Speaking Out,” was published.

During the ensuing furor, Mr. Speakes resigned from his job as senior vice president for communications at Merrill Lynch. He later told The Washington Post that he had been “overzealous” and that he had “wronged President Reagan.”

But he did not apologize. “The truth never requires apology,” he told The Post.

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