The balance of power between Congress and the president has been topic No. 1 this week after 47 Republican senators signed a letter designed to undercut a nuclear deal with Iran. That deal has yet to be written, but the senators warned Iran that any agreement could be reversed "by the stroke of a pen" by a future president or by an act of Congress.
In the war of words that followed, one newspaper tagged the senators as traitors, while conservatives shot back that Democrats have also meddled in foreign policy in the past. A reader asked us about an example making the rounds in conservative media. Fox News host Megyn Kelly, the Newsbusters website, and Rush Limbaugh all have pointed to an episode involving Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy and Republican President Ronald Reagan that purportedly took place in 1983.
In Limbaugh’s account, "Ted Kennedy sent a letter to then Soviet leader Yuri Andropov apologizing for Ronald Reagan and begging the Soviets not to overreact, essentially saying that Reagan was a reckless cowboy and worse, that the Democrats are gonna do their best to rein him in."
In the past, we have reached the Limbaugh show through the company that distributes the program. We did so again and did not hear back. Still, we were able to find much of the story through our own reporting and research, and there’s a lot more uncertainty to the episode -- including if it ever happened at all -- than Limbaugh’s comments suggest.