WASHINGTON -- President Reagan watched the movie 'The Day After' for a second time Sunday night, a spokesman said today, and remained convinced that his policies 'are designed to prevent' a nuclear war.
Deputy press secretary Larry Speakes told reporters the White House brought in a large number of volunteers to handle an expected heavy flow of telephone calls from the public after the ABC-TV presentation, but there were relatively few calls.
Speakes said Reagan saw the movie -- a graphic rendering of the effects of a nuclear war on the Kansas City area -- a second time so he could watch a follow-up dicussion on ABC's 'Viewpoint' that featured Secretary of State George Shultz.
The spokesman repeated Reagan's reaction of the movie, delivered Friday night after it was revealed that he had seen it earlier in the week -- 'This is the type of thing this administration policies are designed to prevent.'
Speakes said between the hours of 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. EST, the White House received 596 telephone calls.
When it was appropriate, Speakes said, the caller was asked, 'Do you think Ronald Reagan is on the right track in seeking to reduce the number of nuclear weapons.'
Speakes said the response was 299 yes and 14 no.
'We had a large number of volunteers; we did not have a large number of calls,' Speakes said.
He contrasted the response received following the president's Oct. 27 speech on the invasion of Grenada and the attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut when 4,592 calls were made to the White House switchboard.
Speakes said surveys taken by White House pollster Richard Wirthlin before and after the film were favorable to U.S. policies. He said the polls were taken 'to see what the impact was.'
Later, Speakes said he erred in saying Wirthlin conducted a poll. Actually, he said, George Washington University made a survey for Wirthlin before and after the film and found 'a slight improvement in the president's (popularity) standing.'
Speakes gave no figures on the polling before and after the film.