MADISON, Wis. (AP) — An official at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library on Monday sought to clarify her account of how Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came to handle a family Bible the late president used when taking the oath of office.
Library registrar Jennifer Torres said a "simple misunderstanding" left the wrong impression that Walker personally sought to hold the book. A spokeswoman for the Reagan Foundation says Walker's retelling of the moment is correct.
Walker told the story of having his picture taken with the Bible at a 2013 Reagan Day dinner in Milwaukee. He described in his speech how he was surprised to see the Bible had been taken out of its exhibit case, so that he could pose with it for a photo.
In a series of emails with the liberal magazine The Progressive, Torres said that Walker had asked to see the Bible. On Monday, Torres confirmed that Walker's advance team had indeed asked about Walker viewing the Bible, but that his surprise at being offered the chance to hold it was genuine.
"It was the Reagan Foundation's request to actually pull the Bible from the case and allow Gov. Walker to hold the Bible," Torres said. "It was not Gov. Walker nor his team's idea to request that we remove it from the case or take a picture of the governor with it."
In his 2013 speech, Walker also said he was told that former first lady Nancy Reagan wanted him to hold the book and pose for a photo. Melissa Giller, a spokeswoman for the Reagan Foundation, said Walker likely got that idea because Nancy Reagan's chief of staff had to give permission for the Bible to be removed.
"She knew Mrs. Reagan would also like the idea and we shared that with him," Giller said in an email. "We aren't sure how the other story got out (that it was his idea), and we feel badly about it because nothing about it was his idea."
Torres, in an email she sent to Giller explaining what happened, called it a "simple misunderstanding." Giller said that she, not anyone associated with Walker, sought out the additional information from Torres about what happened.
Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for Walker's political group, Our American Revival, said in a statement Friday that, "Gov. Walker was honored to speak at the Reagan Library and to hold his mother's Bible. He was and continues to be one of his heroes, a president for the ages that accomplished great things for our country." She said Monday that Walker's group had no additional comment.
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