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Nancy Reagan Sings For Gridiron

March 27, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Nancy Reagan got two standing ovations for a surprise solo singing performance that included a gentle jab at Raisa Gorbachev, the wife of the Soviet leader.

President Reagan, beaming at his wife’s show-stopper at the Washington media’s annual Gridiron Club dinner Saturday night, issued the challenge ″Raisa, top that″ after Mrs. Reagan’s song.

Mrs. Reagan, dressed in a red formal gown, unexpectedly appeared on stage as a chorus of journalists was wrapping up its ribbing of key figures in the news, ranging from Jim and Tammy Bakker to the presidential candidates.

To the tune of ″Thanks for the Memories,″ Mrs. Reagan sang, ″Thanks for the memory, the Soviet Mona Lisa, sometimes known as Raisa, she said to me, ’Would you like to see my MasterCard and Visa?‴

″It was all in good humor,″ Mrs. Reagan’s press secretary Elaine Crispin said on Sunday. ″The whole Gridiron is done in that spirit, and that’s all that’s intended.″ She said the words to Mrs. Reagan’s song were written by former White House speech-writer Landon Parvin.

Mrs. Gorbachev joined her husband Mikhail S. Gorbachev for his trip to Washington last December for a summit meeting with Reagan. Although both Mrs. Reagan and Mrs. Gorbachev maintained that their relations during the visit ere warm, observers noticed a coolness between the two women.

It was Mrs. Reagan’s second appearance as a solo singer on the Gridiron stage. In 1982, amidst criticism of her expensive taste, she stepped out in an outlandish Hawaiian print dress with polka dot sleeves and yellow galoshes and sang a self-effacing ″Second Hand Clothes″ to the tune of ″Second Hand Rose.″

Mrs. Reagan was an actress but has only sung occasionally.

Reagan, in his traditional Gridiron response, poked fun at Vice President George Bush and Bush’s fellow Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson as well as rich Republicans.

″Before I refuse to take questions,″ Reagan said, ″I have an opening statement. I thought Nancy’s performance was absolutely wonderful. Raisa, top that.″

Reagan later said if Robertson becomes president, ″there’d be no more ‘Hail to the Chief.’ It would be ’When the Saints Go Marching In.″

Referring to the fact that Bush was born in Massachusetts, has family connections in Connecticut, has been active in politics in Texas, and spends time in Maine, Reagan said Bush could win ″if he carries his own states.″

During the show, a chorus of Washington journalists thanked Reagan ″for the memories″ - the memories ″of David Stockman and Jim Watt, the Iran- Contra plot, of Ollie and Bill Casey, the diversions you forgot.″

The tune lampooned former Budget Director David Stockman, the late CIA director Casey, ex-Interior Secretary James Watt and former White House aide Oliver North.″

The 103-year-old club also presented a spoof to the tune of ″To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before″ by show members playing former Sen. Gary Hart and television evangelist Jim Bakker.


Here are the words Mrs. Reagan sang:

″Thanks for the memory, of all the times we had, the happy and the sad.

″Looking back, Don Regan doesn’t seem so bad.

″Oh, it’s been so swell.

″Thanks for the memory, the Soviet Mona Lisa, sometimes known as Raisa, she said to me, ‘Would you like to see my MasterCard and Visa?’

″Oh, it’s been so swell.

″Not all was happy, that’s granted.

″The Congress, it raved and ranted.

″The right wing became disenchanted.

″In spite of it all, we had a ball.

″Thanks for the memory, of the whole press corps, at times I cursed and swore.

″You sometimes were a headache, but you never were a bore.

″So, thanks for the memory, it’s time to say goodbye.

″Oh, how the time does fly.

″Ronny’s loved these past eight years, and so I confess have I.

″Thank you, bye bye.″

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