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March 28, 1985
Off to N.Y.—breakfast on the plane. I opened the N.Y. Stock Exchange—a brief speech & rang the bell at 10 A.M. I was amazed at the reception. They were cheering like it was a pol. rally. Then upstairs to talk to & answer Q.’s from the 650 or so board members. I was told I’m the only sitting Pres. who has ever visited the place.
Then it was off to St. Johns U. & again I was a first. What a morale booster that was—1000’s of students telling me they loved me—cheering every other word. On the way back to Kennedy Airport Max F. got Don Regan, who was with me, on our car phone to give us the count on the House vote for MX (the all important 2nd vote). We slowed the convoy down so we could have the final vote before we met the press at plane side. With about 1 min. to spare—word came—we won 217 to 210. I greeted the press with the news.
Tip O’Neill had told me he would vote against it but that was a matter of conscience and that he would not try to persuade anyone else to vote with him. There are witnesses to his statement. But right down to the wire he twisted arms, threatened punishment of the 61 Dems. who went with us—in short he was playing pure partisan politics all the way.