In 1981, when Ronnie and I moved to Washington, I never dreamed that eight years later I'd be getting millions of dollars for talking into a tape recorder about it. The many good people Ronnie and I met during our time in the White House will stay in our hearts forever.
As for those other people, the ones who let us down or put us down or led Ronnie down the Rose Garden path - well that's why I'm calling this book "My Turn." As my former good friend Mike Deaver always told me, "If you can't say anything nice about someone, write your memoirs."Raisa Gorbachev, for instance - what a piece of work! I'll never forget the first time we met, in Geneva. Ronnie and her husband had gone off to sit in front of a fireplace and talk about missiles, and the two of us were left all by ourselves. Just to make conversation, I asked her about her family. She pulled a chart out of her purse and started lecturing me about the advantages of Soviet genealogy.
I've always had good judgment about people. When Ronnie hired Alexander Haig as secretary of state, I had a funny feeling about it. I also had a funny feeling when Ronnie hired Ed Meese as White House counsel. I also had a funny feeling when he hired James Watt as secretary of the interior, and David Stockman as budget director, and Richard Allen and Robert McFarlane and John Poindexter as national security advisers.
But the funniest feeling I ever had was when Ronnie let Donald Regan become his chief of staff. Before long, he started acting like he was in charge, and everyone was supposed to follow his orders. He never understood that that job was already filled - and I had no intention of giving it up.
For eight years I was sleeping with the President, and if that doesn't give you special access, I don't know what does! In fact, this is probably the time to reveal our biggest secret: Ronnie did all his best work at night. I quickly learned that as long as Ronnie was in the Oval Office, other people would be advising him, and I wouldn't get a word in edgewise. Once he came upstairs, though, he'd be all mine. So I decided to hold our own policy meetings most of the night - and I left orders that he was absolutely not to be disturbed.
People made fun of Ronnie for napping during the day, but that's how I planned it. I figured it was less dangerous that way.
When the time finally came to leave the White House, I was sad. So many goodbyes! So many people to thank! So many dresses to pack! But as I looked forward to our new life in California, I knew Ronnie and I would be just fine. He'd have his high-priced appearances and a chance to relax.
I'd have revenge.