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Reagan Letters For Sale

A collection of 41 letters Ronald Reagan (search) sent to a fellow actor-turned-politician has been put up for sale, including several that reveal a harder edge to the late president than he usually showed in public.

The letters to George Murphy span a period beginning in the late 1970s and ending in the early 1990s. In one, Reagan dismisses the nation's biggest newspapers as biased liberal distributors of "daily poison." 

In others he offers help in "deep-sixing" Sen. Edward Kennedy, "the playboy from Massachusetts"; accuses Walter Mondale of "lying through his teeth"; and lambasts President Carter over a disastrous attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran.

In later letters, Reagan expresses disbelief over the "fuss" created by the Iran-Contra (search) affair, and castigates a Democrat-controlled Congress for repeated investigations of Republican presidents.

"Well they haven't gotten the noose around my neck, and they won't because I've been telling the truth," Reagan said.

Reagan and Murphy, both conservatives, appeared together in the 1943 screen version of Irving Berlin's musical "This is the Army," and made parallel jumps into politics. Both were presidents of the Screen Actors Guild (search). Murphy served as a U.S. senator for California from 1965 to 1971.

The two continued to correspond after Reagan left office. In one 1990 note, Reagan complained about declining morals in Hollywood.

"If it was what it used to be the Guild members would refuse to read lines with 4 letter words and profanity," Reagan wrote. "I'm sure we would have ruled out the nudity and sex too."

Murphy died in 1992. Reagan died June 5 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for a decade.
The Raab Collection (search), a brokerage of rare manuscripts that was also involved in the 1999 sale of letters from Reagan to a Philadelphia woman, said Monday it hopes the latest letters will sell for nearly $250,000. The brokerage, based in suburban Philadelphia, declined to identify the collection's owner.