When First Dog barks is it Lincoln's ghost?


WASHINGTON -- Nancy Reagan confirmed Tuesday that her dog, Rex, barks at the door of the Lincoln Bedroom -- long said to harbor the 16th president's ghost -- but declined to say whether she or the president think the room is haunted.

Several former presidents have said or written they have felt the presence of Lincoln in and around the bedroom in the family quarters of the White House.


Mrs. Reagan, commenting on a Washington Post report, said, 'Rex will go barking down to the end of the hall, and my husband said, 'I'll bet he senses Abe is here.''

Asked if she or her husband believes the ghost of Lincoln haunts the White House, Mrs. Reagan replied, 'I don't know. Do you?'

President Ronald, Nancy Reagan and their dog Rex at the White House in 1986. UPI file

The first lady spoke with reporters as she posed for pictures alongside an 8-foot-high wooden valentine sent to her by singer Bobby Vinton, a teen idol in the early 1960s who has become a nightclub and concert performer popular with the middle-age set. Vinton was not at the picture-taking ceremony.


On another subject, Mrs. Reagan said if she ever suggested selling the couple's ranch near Santa Barbara, Calif., 'There'd be a divorce in the family.'

Mrs. Reagan, who has been house-hunting in the Los Angeles area sporadically looking toward a post-presidential retirement, said she might look at a house on this week's vacation trip 'if something presents itself. I don't want any great big huge 12-acre place. We have a lot of land at the ranch.'

She also said she was proud of her son Ron's appearance on 'Saturday Night Live,' in which he spoofed the first family and the movies 'Risky Business,' 'Hellcats of the Navy,' and 'Back to the Future.'

'I thought he was great .... I always knew he was a good writer, but I didn't know he was that good a performer,' she said.

She said she had never seen the TV program, which engages in political and social satire from a decidedly unconservative viewpoint, or 'Risky Business.'

Mrs. Reagan said she was not embarrassed at watching her son, a former ballet performer, dance to rock'n'roll in his underpants, mimicking a scene from the movie. 'I guess that's what they did in the picture,' she said.


The couple watched the program, which airs at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, on video tape Sunday.

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