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What did the president kw, and when did he kw it? Once again, only a dozen years after Watergate, the nation faced these troubling questions. Would we see ather president forced to resign or be impeached? Could our democracy survive ather presidential scandal so soon? As the Iran-Contra affair unfolded, the nation waited tensely for answers. At this crucial moment, advisors to President Ronald Reagan called home the Ambassador to NATO, David M. Abshire, to serve in the cabinet as Special Counselor. His charge was to assure that a full investigation of the sale of arms to Iran in exchange for freeing American hostages, and the subsequent channeling of those funds to Nicaraguan rebels, be conducted expeditiously and transparently, thereby restoring the confidence of the nation in the shaken Reagan presidency. In this book David M. Abshire for the first time reveals the full behind-the-scenes story of his private meetings with the president, how he and his team conducted this crucial process, his alliance with Nancy Reagan, the role of the Tower Board, and how the Reagan presidency was saved. Abshire's efforts helped Reagan fill the credibility gap created by revelation of the Iran-Contra scandal and thus restored the president's power to lead the nation and its allies toward the end of the Cold War. His unique recollections show the inner workings of the Reagan White House in this critical period: the conflicts with the powerful Chief of Staff Donald Regan, the politically astute First Lady, the involvement of CIA Director, William Casey, and Reagan's triumph of personal character to overcome his indiscretion, a feat unmatched by Clinton or Nixon. Abshire's story casts new light on the episode and draws important lessons about how presidents should respond to unfolding scandals to limit the threat t only to their own reputations but also to national confidence in democratic institutions.
DAVID M. ABSHIRE co-founded in 1962 and headed for many years the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He earned his Ph.D. in American history from Georgetown University. His extensive experience, including service as Assistant Secretary of State and later as NATO ambassador, gives him a perspective that is both unique and insightful. He is currently the president of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and also president of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.