John McCaslin

Those closest to Ronald Reagan worried as far back as 1976 whether the former California governor had enough stamina to campaign for the presidency, Craig Shirley writes in his just-published book, "Reagan's Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign that Started It All."

"Reagan enjoyed campaigning," says Shirley, a former Reagan aide who currently heads a Washington public-relations firm, "but Mrs. Reagan was concerned that the campaign was pushing her husband too hard."

Late one evening, the author recalls, Nancy Reagan called family friend and campaign aide Nancy Reynolds in New Hampshire to make sure that her husband "was in bed and asleep."

"Mrs. Reagan insisted that Reynolds go down the hall and knock on the governor's door to see if he was in his pajamas and in bed," writes Shirley. "Reynolds protested, but Mrs. Reagan insisted. Reynolds knocked on the door and woke the governor.

"When she whispered through the door that Mrs. Reagan wanted to know 'Ronnie' was in bed and asleep, the formerly slumbering Reagan yelled back at the door, 'Can't I ever escape you two Nancys?'"

An attractive reporter for the CBS affiliate in San Francisco when she first met Ronald Reagan in 1966, Reynolds went to work for the governor in Sacramento shortly thereafter. She could be blunt, the author recalls. Like when Reagan told her in 1979 that he was running a second time for president.

"Don't you think you're too old?" she blurted out.

Reagan only chuckled, and when Miss Reynolds tried holding the door for him on the campaign trail, he said: "My mother told me ladies go through the door first, so we can stand here all day, and you let me hold that door for you, or we don't go through."

GUNS AND FREEDOM

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been named "Gun Rights Defender of the Month" for January by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

"I have sort of a pure Second Amendment view of the right to bear arms," committee spokesman John Michael Snyder quotes Miss Rice as saying, while pointing to biographer Antonia Felix's book, "The Condoleezza Rice Story."

"The secretary's father, John Rice, and his neighbors guarded the streets of Birmingham, Ala., at night with shotguns during the civil-rights crises during Condi's childhood," Snyder says.


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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