By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
During inauguration week, transition stories were all the rage, but this one takes the cake. It comes from Fred Ryan, a member of the Ronald Reagan transition team, who says he's only revealing it now. The scene: Reagan's California office the day after the Gipper left Washington. Ryan, chair of the Ronald Reagan Library Foundation and vice chair of the White House Historical Association, was tasked with setting up Reagan's office and says he didn't expect to see the ex-prez for about two weeks. But on Day 1, "the Secret Service called to say the president was on his way." An hour after arriving, Reagan exited his office "and he handed me this list and he said, 'I'd like to meet with these people.'" Asked who they were, Ryan says Reagan offered: "These are people who have been calling." Seems the receptionist's phone line was wired to Reagan's by accident. Ryan says "people would call the office and hear 'Hello . . . this is Ronald Reagan. '" The prez, adds Ryan, "kept his word and they came in."
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