Posted by Wordsmith on 7 June, 2016 at 10:13 pm. 2 comments already!


The Greatest supported Republicans:

He startled many longtime fans in 1984 by endorsing President Ronald Reagan for re-election. Ali also backed friend and former New Mexico Gov. David Cargo in a losing race for Congress in 1986, proclaiming Republican Cargo was “the right white.” He also stumped for South Carolina’s conservative former State GOP Chairman Van Hipp for Congress in 1994 and helped Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch win re-election in 1988.

“I like Orrin,” Ali told reporters in 1988, “He’s a nice fella. He’s a capable man and he’s an honest man. And he fights for what he believes in.” Ali said he had been particularly moved the year before watching Hatch in the televised Iran-Contra hearings and in the hearings on Robert Bork’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

But it was “The Champ’s” support of Reagan in ’84 that made the most headlines. Having backed Rev. Jesse Jackson in his unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, Ali announced in October of that year that he was switching his support to Republican Reagan.

“He’s keeping God in schools and that’s enough,” explained Ali, who was later joined by fellow past heavyweight champions Joe Frazier and Floyd Patterson in endorsing Reagan.

Ali’s position was particularly surprising to those who remembered Reagan’s criticism years before of the boxer’s refusal to register for the draft in 1967, which led to his being denied a boxing license in every state.

In his autobiography, Ali wrote of staying at a hotel in Southern California in 1967 and being approached by someone he recalled as “a handsome boy” in his early 20s. The young man voiced support for Ali’s position on the draft.

When Ali asked his name, the young man replied: “Michael Reagan.”

“The only Reagan I know is Ronald Reagan,” Ali told him, noting the then-California governor blasting him over the draft controversy.

“He’s my father,” said Michael Reagan, who promptly grinned and offered Ali a clenched fist salute to show solidarity with his position.

Reached by Newsmax shortly after Ali’s death, the oldest son of the 40th President confirmed the accuracy of the boxing great’s account of their meeting and said he felt Ali’s position on the draft “was consistent with his principles, and he paid a price by losing some of the best years of his career after the was stripped of his title.”

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x