Washington Secrets

Judd 'dissed Reagan, media, childbirth in 2012 biography

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

California native and current Tennessee resident Ashley Judd, reportedly readying a run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in her onetime home of Kentucky, used her 2012 biography to ridicule former President Ronald Reagan as "right-wing icon," call the media simple minded and scoffed at those making their "own" babies when they could chose orphans instead.

"I now make my home in rural middle Tennessee," she writes in paperback "All That is Bitter & Sweet," one of the passages that Republicans in Kentucky are collecting as they prepare to portray the liberal actress as out of touch with the Bluegrass State.

Key among those issues are her roots. Born in California, she spent some of her youth in Kentucky, and attended the University of Kentucky. But as part of the famous Judd country family, she also spent time in Nashville, and eventually made movies in Hollywood.

Her politics are also a target. A vocal supporter of President Obama, she lays them out in the book which describes her efforts to bring attention to suffering in the neglected parts of the world. "An important and moving memoir," wrote former President Bill Clinton on the cover of the New York Times best seller.

-- On Reagan, she whacks those who say that she can't run for office because of her acting background. Critics, she writes on page 57, say that "my service would never be valid, because I had once had a career as an actor. Forgetting, of course, the previous job description of that right-wing icon Ronald Reagan."

-- Like the sneering manager of her mom's singing career, she said the media makes fun of her activism. "It's a message I still hear today from some people--many of them in the media--whose imaginations are so limited that they believe I can legitimately be only one or the other, a creative person or an advocate."

-- On motherhood: "I do not need to go making 'my own' babies when there are so many orphaned or abandoned children who need love, attention, time, and care. I have felt this way since I was at least eighteen and I had an argument about it with a childhood friend," she writes on page 39. "He maintained that people with 'our genes and opportunities are the very people who should have kids;' I countered that folks with our awareness and ability to contribute should instead focus on the children already born and suffering so needlessly. I figured it was selfish for us to pour our resources into making our 'own' babies when those very resources and energy could not only help children already here, but through advocacy and service transform the world into a place where no child ever needs to be born into poverty and abuse again. My believe has not changed. It is a big part of who I am."

-- She also revealed that in college she joined the NAACP and Amnesty International and toyed with volunteering at Planned Parenthood.

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