There you go again, Mr. President.
Ronald Reagan, the great communicator, the man who is seldom at a loss for words, has gotten himself into trouble once more with his glib tongue.Once, he spoke into a live microphone and jested about bombing the Soviet Union.
Another time, he joked that he sometimes withheld information from Congress.
Now he's called Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis an invalid, and then said he was only kidding and shouldn't have said it.
Actually, what he said was, "I think I was kidding."
Dukakis said no apology was needed. His running mate, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, called the president's remark "outrageous and laughable." Vice President George Bush declined to comment.
Reagan is no stranger to this kind of problem.
The most recent time he said something that he immediately had to regret was on March 16 when he was meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in the Oval Office.
A reporter asked him to comment on his former national security adviser, Robert McFarlane, pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges of withholding information from Congress.
"He just pleaded guilty to not telling Congress everything it wanted to know," said Reagan. "I've done that myself."
As reporters left the room, he told Shamir, "Oh, boy, just for that careless remark they'll go wild about `Reagan wants to lie to Congress' or something."
Then there was the time, on Aug. 11, 1984, that the president was doing a voice test for his weekly radio broadcast.
"All right, my fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I have signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."
The president hasn't heard the last of that one yet.
Wednesday's fracas arose when a reporter asked the president, as he prepared to leave the White House briefing room after a question-and-answer session, whether he didn't think Dukakis should release his medical records.
Grinning, the president replied, "I'm not going to pick on an invalid."