Today’s Between the Covers podcast is the Del Quentin Wilber, author of Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan. We discuss what happened on March 30, 1981 (almost exactly 30 years ago), whether Reagan almost died that day, and how the incident shaped Reagan’s presidency.
From page 147 of the book:
Lichtman assured the president that he would have no difficulty breathing during the operation and then prepared to administer the anesthetics.
As if responding to a cue, the president rose up on one elbow and dramatically pulled the oxygen mask from his face. Salvaging a line that had fallen flat in the emergency room earlier, he said, “I hope you are all Republicans.”
Nervous chuckles quickly became laughter; the tension in the room evaporated. Standing near the foot of the operating table was [chief of surgery] Joe Giordano, who happened to be a die-hard liberal. “Today, Mr. President,” Giordano said, “we are all Republicans.”