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The White House dismissed as vindictiveness and revenge former chief of staff Donald Regan's scathing attack on Nancy Reagan, whom he portrays in his new book as a meddlesome wife guided by astrology.

The White House, which withheld formal comment on the book in advance of the Time excerpts, fired back Sunday with a blast authorized by the Reagans.

"Vindictiveness and revenge are not admirable qualities and are not worthy of comment," a White House spokesman said in a statement telephoned to news agencies. "Donald Regan's attempts to defame the first lady, on Mother's Day no less, are certainly in that category."