We all know that JFK lied about a missile gap and got elected, in part, by implying Eisenhower was soft on the Soviets.
Reagan, when faced with a Soviet Union on the verge of collapse, whose economy was in a shambles, and tried to fool us into thinking that massive defense spending to his former cronies in GE, and other military-industrial complex types, was necessary to destroy them.
If the Soviets were a bit behind us in 1960, in 1980, it wasn't even close.
Reagan was far worse a liar than JFK, but, because he didn't know much about foreign policy at all, I doubt he even cared.
Face facts, he didn't even know what detente was, and that had been the foreign policy posture towards th Soviets since the Cold War got in full swing, six months before he was elected.
It really freaks me out how the really stupid are easily manipulated by the rich and greedy.