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Reagan Stumbles On James Nickname, Commencement Address

May 11, 1987

POPE AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. (AP) _ President Reagan got it right in two speeches at Tuskegee University, but during a stopover here he stumbled on the name of a former Tuskegee student, Air Force Gen. Daniel ″Chappie″ James.

Taping a segment for a television show here with entertainer Bob Hope, he called the late four-star general ″Cappie.″

It was one of two mistakes the president made in a three-speech foray into Alabama and North Carolina Sunday. Both were noted by asterisks in transcripts of the speeches given out by the White House press office.

In his commencement address at Tuskegee, he said, ″Our citizens may know of the three black astronauts in line for becoming shuttle missions.″

As the transcript noted, he meant to say, ″upcoming.″

In his commencement speech and his remarks at dedication of the Daniel ″Chappie″ James Center at Tuskegee, he correctly gave the nickname of the nation’s first black four-star general.

In taping the TV show, however, he said, ″I have just come from Tuskegee University at their commencement over there, and where a general named Daniel ‘Cappie’ James was being honored today.″

It was not the first time Reagan had got names wrong.

He once called House Republican leader Bob Michel, whose name is pronounced like ″Michael,″ Congressman ″Michelle.″

And in Oklahoma last year, campaigning for then Republican Sen. Don Nickles, he called him ″Sen. Don Rickles,″ which is the name of a comedian, not a senator.

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