Larry Speakes, the ex-White House spokesman whose book has made him an ex-corporate executive, apologizes for putting words in President Reagan's mouth and is appealing to restore his own credibility.

"I apologize not for the truth in my book nor the telling of it. The truth never requires apology," Speakes told about 1,200 listeners Tuesday at a "book and author" luncheon sponsored by The Washington Post.

"I do regret that I may have overstepped the bounds of propriety in some instances. It is for that I apologize," the former spokesman said.

Speakes defended his new book, "Speaking Out," as an "honest" portrayal of life at the White House while he was chief spokesman for six years, a job he gained after the shooting that crippled press secretary James Brady.

Last week, Reagan and Vice President George Bush angrily denounced the book as a "kiss-and-tell" tome. Reagan also asserted he was unaware Speakes had fabricated presidential quotes, including one widely reported from the 1985 summit in Geneva with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.