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Entries in Ronald Reagan (9)

Tuesday
May222012

Ronald Reagan Foundation Blasts ‘Craven’ Blood Auction

Dirck Halstead/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation’s executive director, John Heubusch, has declared an overseas auction house’s plan to sell off a vial stained with the late president’s blood “a craven act,” and promised his organization “will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase.”

Heubusch also said that he’s been promised that George Washington University hospital administrators will launch a probe into “how something like this could possibly happen.”

Sixty-nine days after being sworn in, Reagan was attacked outside a Hilton Hotel in Washington by John Hinckley, Jr., a schizophrenic young man who later said he was trying to impress the actress Jodie Foster. The Secret Service rushed the president to George Washington University Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. Despite significant internal injuries and bleeding, Reagan recovered and was back at work at the White House only weeks later.

Reagan, of course, went on to become one of conservative America’s most beloved figures.

Now his fans can put in a bid for a 5-inch long, plasma-stained glass tube and an accompanying medical form listing Reagan’s patient identification number, age, sex, and the name of the hospital’s chief cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon. None of the boxes on the form indicating which tests should be done are ticked off, but instructions are written onto the page requesting the sample’s “lead level” be examined.

The anonymous seller provided online auctioneers with a “letter of provenance,” claiming that his mother, then a technician at Bio Science Laboratories in nearby Columbia, Md., was given permission by a supervisor to take the vial home at the end of the week Reagan was shot. When his parents died, the seller writes, the vial was passed on to him.

“About 3 to 4 months ago,” he continues, “I contacted the Reagan National Library (sic) and spoke to the head of the library, a Federal Agent. I told him what I had, how I came across it and so on. We spoke for about 45 minutes. The reason that I contacted the Reagan National Library was to see if they would like to purchase it from me. He indicated that if I was interested in donating it he would see to it that he would take care of all of the arrangements.”

But he wanted to sell it, and after finding that the “National Archives was not interested in what I had, nor was the Secret Service, the FBI and other agencies,” he decided to put it on the block.

“Pres. Reagan when he was my Commander in Chief when I was in the ARMY from ’87-’91,” the mystery man writes, “and that I was a real fan of Reaganomics and felt that Pres. Reagan himself would rather see me sell it rather than donating it.”

The auction opened on Wednesday, May 9, with a bid of 1,500 British pounds sterling ($2,370.90). By Tuesday morning, “Lot 160 – Ronald Reagan Blood Vial” had a new top offer of $11,977.60.

PFC Auctions is based on the island of Guernsey (an autonomous British protectorate and controversial tax haven, just off the northern coast of France).

For all interested parties, bidding expires Thursday, May 24, at 2 p.m. EDT. All submissions are considered official and cannot be altered. Payment, according to the PFC Auction website, is due within seven days of the date of your invoice.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
May212012

Ronald Reagan’s Blood for Sale -- Bid Now!

Dirck Halstead/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Thirty-one years after Ronald Reagan was shot and nearly killed by a would-be assassin, an online auction house on the island of Guernsey (an autonomous British protectorate and controversial tax haven just off the northern coast of France) is making available to the highest bidder a glass vial it says once held the president’s blood.

Sixty-nine days after being sworn in, Reagan was attacked outside a Hilton Hotel in Washington by John Hinckley, Jr., a schizophrenic young man who later said he was trying to impress the actress Jodie Foster. The Secret Service rushed the president to George Washington University Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. Despite significant internal injuries and bleeding, Reagan recovered and was back at work at the White House only weeks later.

Reagan, of course, went on to become one of conservative America’s most beloved figures.

Now fans can put in a bid for a 5-inch long, plasma-stained glass tube and an accompanying medical form listing Reagan’s patient identification number, age, sex, and the name of the hospital’s chief cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon. None of the boxes on the form indicating which tests should be done are ticked off, but instructions are written onto the page requesting the sample’s “lead level” be examined.

The anonymous seller provided online auctioneers with a “letter of provenance,” claiming that his mother, then a technician at Bio Science Laboratories in nearby Columbia, Md., was given permission by a supervisor to take the vial home at the end of the week Reagan was shot. When his parents died, the seller writes, the vial was passed on to him.

“About 3 to 4 months ago,” he continues, “I contacted the Reagan National Library (sic) and spoke to the head of the library, a Federal Agent. I told him what I had, how I came across it and so on. We spoke for about 45 minutes. The reason that I contacted the Reagan National Library was to see if they would like to purchase it from me. He indicated that if I was interested in donating it he would see to it that he would take care of all of the arrangements.”

But he wanted to sell it, and after finding that the “National Archives was not interested in what I had, nor was the Secret Service, the FBI and other agencies,” he decided to put it on the block.

The auction opened on Wednesday, May 9, with a bid of 1,500 British pounds sterling ($2,370.90). By late Monday, “Lot 160 -- Ronald Reagan Blood Vial” had a new top offer of $9,910.36.

For all our interested readers: Bidding expires this Thursday, May 24, at 2 p.m. EDT. All submissions are considered official and cannot be altered.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb172012

Poll: Ronald Reagan Named Best President Since World War II

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In advance of Presidents' Day, Ronald Reagan gets America’s vote as the best chief executive since World War II, according to a new poll, while George W. Bush finds himself being ranked as the worst.

Twenty-five percent of Americans rank Reagan as the best president in a survey conducted by The Harris Poll. Franklin Roosevelt was ranked second-best with 19 percent of the vote.

On the flip-side, George W. Bush and Barack Obama were neck-and-neck for the "Worst president since World War II" title. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said Bush was at the bottom of the pack, followed closely by Barack Obama with 22 percent of the vote.

Richard Nixon was ranked as the worst president since WWII with 10 percent.

One-third of respondents say Abraham Lincoln is the best president in U.S. history. Lincoln was followed by Reagan and George Washington.

Here are the complete survey results, including percentages. Totals may not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.

Best President Since World War Two:


* Ronald Reagan, 25 percent
* Franklin Roosevelt, 19 percent
* John Kennedy, 15 percent
* Bill Clinton, 12 percent
* Dwight Eisenhower, 4 percent
* Harry Truman, 4 percent
* Barack Obama, 4 percent
* George W. Bush, 2 percent
* Jimmy Carter, 2 percent
* Lyndon Johnson, 1 percent
* George H.W. Bush, 1 percent
* Richard Nixon, 1 percent
* Gerald Ford, 1 percent
* Not Sure, 10 percent

Worst President Since World War Two:


* George W. Bush, 27 percent
* Barack Obama, 22 percent
* Richard Nixon, 12 percent
* Bill Clinton, 5 percent
* Jimmy Carter, 5 percent
* Ronald Reagan, 4 percent
* George H.W. Bush, 4 percent
* Lyndon Johnson, 2 percent
* John F. Kennedy, 2 percent
* Harry Truman, 2 percent
* Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1 percent
* Gerald Ford, 1 percent
* Dwight Eisenhower, 4 percent

Best Presidents in History:


* Abraham Lincoln, 21 percent
* Ronald Reagan, 15 percent
* George Washington, 13 percent
* John Kennedy, 10 percent
* Franklin Roosevelt, 9 percent
* Bill Clinton, 8 percent
* Barack Obama, 4 percent
* Thomas Jefferson, 3 percent
* Harry Truman, 2 percent
* Theodore Roosevelt, 2 percent
* George W. Bush, 1 percent
* Dwight Eisenhower, 1 percent
* Jimmy Carter, 1 percent

George H.W. Bush, John Adams, Richard Nixon, Andrew Jackson, Lyndon Johnson, Calvin Coolidge, Woodrow Wilson and Gerald Ford all received less than 0.5 percent.  Eight percent of respondents were not sure.

The Harris Poll involved 2,016 U.S. adults.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec062011

Did Prosecutors Embellish Hinckley’s Actions?

Chaos surrounds shooting victims immediately after the assassination attempt on President Reagan, March 30, 1981, by John Hinkley Jr. outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC. Injured in the shooting are Press Secretary James Brady and agent Timothy Mccarthy. Dirck Halstead/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The prosecutors arguing against the conditional release of attempted Ronald Reagan assassin John Hinckley Jr. may have embellished their statements about a trip that Hinckley made to a bookstore in Williamsburg, Va., when they asserted he looked at books about President Reagan.

Last week in opening arguments of the multi-day evidentiary hearing Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Chasson told U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman that Hinckley was not to be trusted and that he was deceptive. Chasson said that on July 24, 2011, Hinckley claimed he was going to attend a movie but Secret Service agents conducting surveillance on him say he walked to the movie ticket counter but then proceeded to a Barnes and Noble where he looked at books about President Reagan and presidential assassinations.

Chasson’s statement before the court implied that Hinckley was reading the books about Reagan, but a Secret Service surveillance report entered into the court record Tuesday as an exhibit clarifies Hinckley’s actions.

“One item of note is the subject stopped for a time and looked at the shelves in the American History area that contain several books about President Reagan and his attempted assassination," the report noted.

“No unusual incidents pertaining to the subject were observed during this surveillance. The subject was observed interacting with two people, the cashier at [redacted] and the employee at the [redacted] Cinemas,” the report notes in the conclusion.

So while, Hinckley was apparently deceptive about going to the movie, the prosecutor overstated her case. Unclear, how much this will mean to the court’s decision about whether to expand Hinckley’s freedom. His attorneys say the government has been fear-mongering and that his mental health issues are in remission and treatable. Prosecutors say Hinckley is still a risk for violence and prone to deception, including being misleading about his apparent fixation on a female dentist.

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting of Reagan and has been treated at St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital. Friedman is holding the hearings to consider a request by St. Elisabeth’s Hospital and Hinckley’s lawyers to permit him to have visits with his mother for durations up to 24 days. Friedman last approved 12 visits of up to 10 nights to his mother’s residence in 2009.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov302011

Prosecutors Argue Against John Hinckley Jr. Release

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images(WILLIAMSBURG, Va.) -- Earlier this year U.S. Secret Service agents observed John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot President Ronald Reagan and three other men in a 1981 assassination attempt, go to a bookstore to read about President Reagan and presidential assassinations. The disclosure was revealed by federal prosecutors as they argued against a request for conditional releases and the eventual release of Hinckley to his mother’s home in Williamsburg, Va.

Judge Paul Friedman is holding a multi-day hearing in Washington, D.C., to consider the request by St. Elisabeth’s Hospital and Hinckley’s lawyers to permit Hinckley to have expanded visits with his mother for durations of up to 24 days. Judge Friedman last approved 12 visits of up to 10 nights to his mother’s residence in 2009.

Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Chasson argued before the court that Hinckley was still deceptive in his nature and not honest with mental health professionals about his activities during his conditional releases.

Chasson said that on July 24, 2011, Hinckley claimed he was going to attend a movie but U.S. Secret Service agents conducting surveillance on Hinckley claim he walked to the movie ticket counter but then proceeded to a Barnes & Noble where he read books about President Reagan and presidential assassinations.

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting of President Reagan and has been treated at St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital.

“The risk of danger is decidedly low,” said Barry Levine, an attorney for Hinckley. “We must look at the legal standing between mental illness and danger.”

Levine said that Hinckley’s psychotic and narcissistic disorder has been in remission for years and that there has not been a single instance of violence on any of his previous releases.

Prosecutors called Hinckley’s release a “gamble” and noted his deceptive behavior by lying to his doctors and caretakers about going to the movies on two occasions.

The hearings are expected to last up to five days with numerous mental health experts and U.S. Secret Service agents testifying.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug242011

Nancy Reagan Slips, Avoids Fall

David Livingston/Getty Images(SIMI VALLEY, Calif.) -- Former First Lady Nancy Reagan slipped Tuesday night as she arrived for a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, but a quick reaction from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio kept Reagan on her feet.

Reagan, 90, was walking to her chair, accompanied by the Florida senator, when the cane she was holding in her right hand lost its grip on the floor and she slipped and nearly fell. Rubio grabbed hold of the former first lady’s left arm and, with the assistance of others, kept her from hitting the ground.

[WATCH VIDEO OF NANCY REAGAN'S NEAR-FALL]

ABC News Los Angeles affiliate KABC-TV reports that Reagan did not require medical attention.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May052011

Ronald Reagan Saved Favorite Quotes on Note Cards, Recently Found

Newsworld/NY Tribune/Getty Images(SIMI VALLEY, Calif.) -- Staffers at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation were looking through old boxes of Reagan-era documents when they stumbled upon a box labeled "RR desk." In it, they found a used photo album with dozens of note cards inside. On them, Reagan had gathered hundreds of quotes, ranging from Cicero to the Founding Fathers and Winston Churchill, which he used in speeches throughout his political career.

"It helps you to trace the origins of his political thinking from back in the 1950s," John Heubusch, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, told ABC News. Reagan's philosophy and political thinking have been invoked by virtually every Republican presidential candidate since his time in politics.

"We look on these notes as essentially being a key Rosetta Stone of Ronald Reagan's thinking and his philosophy that was built up over many years," says Heubusch. "It kind of rivals in some respects the significance of Reagan's diaries that were released a couple of years ago."

Reagan picked up the habit of recording quotes for future use in the 1950s when, as his film acting career wound down, he became a spokesman for General Electric, crisscrossing the country to give speeches at factories. He would read constantly during those long train rides, writing down what he thought was most important.

"It tells you something about the man when you see the [huge] number of quotes he could have chosen from, these are the ones he kept," Heubusch told ABC News. "That tells you something about what he thought was important."

In his later political career, Reagan spread these quotes liberally throughout his speeches.

During his address on the Nicaraguan Contras on June 24, 1986, he said, "President Kennedy wrote on the day of his death that history had called this generation of Americans to be watchmen on the walls of freedom."

At the White House Correspondents Dinner in 1986, he said, "Courage, Churchill said, is the one quality which guarantees all others."

The quotes can be traced back to the worn note cards found in a repurposed photo album Reagan kept in his desk -- note cards that he did not share with anyone.

"This is not a set of cards that he was casual with, he kept them very private," said Heubusch. "When speeches would be written for him that he would edit, and edit voraciously, they would find quotes and notes that oftentimes they would wonder, 'Well where did that come from?' Well, this is where it came from."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Wednesday
Mar302011

Thirty Years Since Failed Reagan Assassination Attempt

File: Former President Reagan leaving the Washington Hilton Hotel just moments before shots were fired on March 30, 1981. Michael Evans/Keystone/CNP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It's been thirty years since a madman attempted to kill president Ronald Reagan outside the Washington Hilton Hotel.

The last of John Hinkley Jr.'s six bullets ricocheted off the president's limousine and wound up less than an inch from his heart as he departed a speaking engagement on March 30, 1981.

ABC News' Sam Donaldson gave the initial report from the scene, declaring, "I don't know whether the president was hit. I don't believe he was."  Donaldson reported that the president's car drove off rapidly after the shots rang out at the scene.

Newly-released secret service tapes shed light on the confusion and the chaos that took place moments after the shooting.

"Shots fired. Shots fired," a voice can be heard saying on the radio transmissions.

Secret Service agents threw the president into the bulletproof limousine, initially directing the motorcade back to the most secure place around. "Back to the White House," the voice on the tape says.

Agents at first claimed Reagan was unharmed, using his Secret Service codename:  "Rawhide is okay."

But the president was not.  He began to spit up blood. Secret Service agent Jerry Parr was lying on top of Reagan in the back of the limo. When it appeared President Reagan had been hit, they headed for the hospital.

"We want to go to the emergency room," the tape says. "Going to George Washington fast."

Agent Parr can be heard saying, "Let's hustle." Parr's decision was credited with saving the president's life.

The recording reveals no shouting. The agents remained calm, using terse phrases to make clear that their worst nightmare was unfolding.

Robyn Ringler was one of Reagan's nurses at George Washington Hospital.

"He was really close to death," she said.  "The first two evenings I took care of him, I left the hospital both nights wondering if he would still be there the next day."

At the time of the shooting, Vice President George Bush was unreachable while flying back from Texas. Secretary of State Alexander Haig famously asserted his authority.

In just ten days, Reagan bounced back.  Thirty years later, his wounded press secretary, Jim Brady, leads the fight for gun control.  His shooter, John Hinckley Jr., now 55, regularly asks for more time away from the mental hospital where he's been incarcerated since being found not guilty of the attempted assassination by reason of insanity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb062011

Revelers Mark Ronald Reagan's 100th Birthday

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(SIMI VALLEY, Calif.) -- Thousands of Ronald Reagan's former aides and supporters gathered at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., on Sunday to celebrate what would have been the former president's 100th birthday.

Reagan, who died in 2004 at age 93, was celebrated from Simi Valley, Calif., where revelers packed a tribute concert featuring the Beach Boys; to Dixon, Ill., where neighbors gathered near Reagan's boyhood home for a celebratory gala.

"Ronnie would be thrilled and is thrilled to have all of you share in his 100th birthday," Nancy Reagan said at the Simi Valley event Sunday. "Doesn't seem possible, but that's what it is."

Earlier in the day, Nancy Reagan laid a wreath at her late husband's gravesite.

Joining Mrs. Reagan on stage was former secretary of state and Reagan chief of staff James Baker, The Beach Boys, and a six-foot tall birthday cake.

"He launched the Reagan revolution and he showed us how to be the very best Americans we could be," Baker said.

Tributes ranging from the formal to the quirky were coordinated by the Ronald Reagan Foundation and the Reagan Centennial Commission, a panel formed for the anniversary by Congress in 2009 with President Obama's approval.

Americans of all political stripes hold Reagan in high esteem, according to a recent Gallup poll, ranking him second out of the nine most recent former presidents from the last 50 years. Only Kennedy bested Reagan in the poll of Americans' retrospective views of how well presidents handled the job.

Reagan, who served for two terms, is frequently credited with helping to bring the Cold War to an end, putting the U.S. economy on sound fiscal footing, and instilling a sense of optimism and pragmatism in Americans. The theme of his centennial celebration is "inspired freedom, changed the world."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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