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Ali endorses Reagan: 'He's keeping God in schools . . .'

LOS ANGELES -- Former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, who endorsed Jesse Jackson's unsuccessful run for the White House, has announced he is switching to President Reagan's corner.

Ali announced his support Monday night at a Hancock Park gathering for black Republicans at the home of GOP congressional candidate Jerry Zarg, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Henry Waxman.

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Asked to elaborate on his endorsement of Reagan, Ali told reporters, 'First of all, all of them (remaining in the race) are white.

'If a black man was running ... like Jesse (Jackson),' Ali said, he would endorse the black candidate.

Ali differed with critics of Reagan's social and civil rights policies.

'They all (cut social programs) when they get in office,' Ali said. 'They all make commitments that they never really fulfill.'

'He's keeping God in schools and that's enough,' Ali said of Reagan.

Asked if he ever supported a Republican before, Ali, a devout Moslem who campaigned for Jimmy Carter in 1980 replied, 'They all looked alike to me. Wallace Muhammad, the leader of all Moslems, says Reagan is our man.'

Ali, 42, who was recently released from a New York hospital where he was treated for symptoms of Parkinson's disease, seemed tired and weak during Monday night's appearance. He stumbled over his words and at times appeared disoriented.

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Asked why he was not supporting Democratic nominee Walter Mondale, as polls indicate the majority of blacks Americans are, Ali replied, 'I don't know nothing about him.'

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