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Former Secret Service Agent opens window into private lives of presidents
The North Star National ^ | 10/14/09 | Jamie Weinstein

Posted on 10/15/2009 5:38:09 PM PDT by highlander_UW

Former Secret Service agent opens window into private lives of presidents October 14th, 2009

Jamie Weinstein In his In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents they Protect, journalist Ronald Kessler gives us a peek inside the intimate lives of our presidents. Through interviews with over 100 secret service agents from the past and present—dating all the way back to John F. Kennedy—Kessler paints a picture of what our presidents are like when no one is looking.

They're always watching. We learn from the agents Kessler interviews that John F. Kennedy was a serial adulterer (big surprise) and that Lyndon Johnson was essentially a serial adulterer and a lunatic. “If Johnson weren’t president, he’d be in an insane asylum,” said one former secret agent who sometimes was on Johnson’s detail. Secret Service agents found Richard Nixon strange and unsociable. Agents described Gerald Ford as friendly but cheap, often tipping caddies at exclusive country clubs a dollar if anything at all. But the president subject to the greatest scorn is Jimmy Carter.

Carter is portrayed as a phony according to the agents interviewed by Kessler. Carter would put on a show for the public to convey himself as a common man, but it was never anymore than an act. For instance, we are told that when Carter would make a point of carrying his own luggage in front of the press, he was really carrying empty bags. He expected others to carry his real luggage. Unfriendly, Carter “didn’t want the police officers and agents looking at him or speaking to him when he went to the [Oval] office,” explained an assistant White House usher. “The only time I saw a smile on Carter’s face was when the cameras were going,” one former agent told Kessler.

After his presidency, Kessler reports that when Carter would stay at a townhouse maintained for former presidents in D.C., he would take down pictures of other presidents and put up more pictures of himself! “The Carters were the biggest liars in the world,” one agent told Kessler of the Carter era.

Carter, not surprisingly, denied to Kessler through a lawyer many of the allegations in the book.

The man who sent Carter packing from the White House could not have been more different according to accounts from agents. Ronald Reagan would constantly interact with his secret service agents and other staffers who worked for him. He was apologetic when he would take secret service agents away from their families on holidays. While Carter would make secret service agents pay for any leftover food they consumed after White House parties, we are told Reagan would insist the secret service eat leftover food (without charge, of course).

George H.W. Bush also comes across as eminently decent. The Bushes, for instance, would stay home on Christmas Eve so that the agents could spend at least some time with their families. “Both [President Bush] and Mrs. Bush are very thoughtful, and they think outside their own little world. They think of other people,” one agent commented to Kessler.

Bush’s successor President Clinton comes across fairly well if sometimes inconsiderate, while Hillary Clinton is depicted as a monster. “Hillary did not speak to us,” one agent told Kessler. “We spent years with her. She never said thank you.”

Vice President Al Gore was exceedingly obnoxious to his agents according to Kessler. When scolding his son for not doing well in school, Gore chastised him by warning that “if you don’t straighten up, you won’t get into the right schools, and if you don’t get into the right schools you could end up like these guys.” The “guys” Gore was referring to were his secret service agents!

President George W. Bush is painted as an affable character behind the scenes. “He does not look comfortable in front of a microphone,” one agent explained to Kessler. “With us, he doesn’t talk like that, doesn’t sound like that. He’s funny as hell.” Bush 43 was also depicted as “down to earth” and “caring.”

While many conservatives may bristle at the domestic and foreign policies of current President Barack Obama, judged by the way he treats his secret service agents it is fair to conclude that Obama is personally a decent man. One agent who protected Obama on the campaign trail says that Obama twice invited agents to dinner at his home.

Kessler’s book does raise a serious question. Should those charged with protecting the president be chatting about what they saw behind the scenes, especially when the protectee is still alive, or worse, still in office? If presidents have to worry about their secret service agents squealing about them to the press at every turn, it will make our presidents want to put as much distance as possible between them and their agents and thus ultimately compromise presidential security. This is not a desirable outcome to say the least.

On the other hand, secret service agents have a unique view of history and there is something to be learned about our presidents from the stories agents tell. It may be argued that the agents owe a duty to history to tell us what they saw on their watch so we can get a fuller understanding of those who lead us, foibles and all. This argument is especially compelling after a president has passed away, or at the very least, left office.

These are difficult issues to wrestle with, but the fact is that the book has been written. What’s done is done. Might as well take a peek inside.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: agents; behindthescenes; bookreview; kessler; presidents; secret; secrets; service; usss

1 posted on 10/15/2009 5:38:09 PM PDT by highlander_UW
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To: highlander_UW

Drat, missed a word in the title...should read “window INTO private lives of presidents”.


2 posted on 10/15/2009 5:39:43 PM PDT by highlander_UW (To anger a conservative tell him a lie. To anger a liberal tell him the truth.)
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To: highlander_UW

For the most part, fits the stereotypes we would guess about the Presidents. With the exception of LBJ being a serial adulterer. Did they find blind women or something?


3 posted on 10/15/2009 5:43:15 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: highlander_UW
Sounds like a good read, lets see if any leftist SS comes out with a book that says RR was an SOB.

Oh wait, there aren't any leftist SS.

4 posted on 10/15/2009 5:43:48 PM PDT by Rome2000 (OBAMA IS A COMMUNIST CRYPTO-MUSLIM)
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To: highlander_UW

For later.


5 posted on 10/15/2009 5:46:20 PM PDT by Blogger
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To: mnehring
For the most part, fits the stereotypes we would guess about the Presidents. With the exception of LBJ being a serial adulterer. Did they find blind women or something?

Maybe politicians are more transparent than they think they are. As for LBJ, they say power is quite an aphrodisiac...as I recall, Kissinger married a very attractive woman back in his heyday, and he was never attractive at his best.

6 posted on 10/15/2009 5:48:22 PM PDT by highlander_UW (To anger a conservative tell him a lie. To anger a liberal tell him the truth.)
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To: highlander_UW

JFK’s philandering was no secret. I heard of it when I was seventeen and as much a nobody as can be. I was told the SS guys called him ‘Jack the Zipper.’ Didn’t know what to make of that but time bore it out.


7 posted on 10/15/2009 5:54:17 PM PDT by decimon
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To: mnehring
Did they find blind women or something?

rumor is.......well, ........you know how they say everything is bigger in Texas?

8 posted on 10/15/2009 5:55:56 PM PDT by digger48
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To: highlander_UW
While many conservatives may bristle at the domestic and foreign policies of current President Barack Obama, judged by the way he treats his secret service agents it is fair to conclude that Obama is personally a decent man.

Hard to make that judgment when one hears Obama talk about his immediate predecessor.

9 posted on 10/15/2009 5:56:59 PM PDT by Western Phil
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To: mnehring
For the most part, fits the stereotypes we would guess about the Presidents. With the exception of LBJ being a serial adulterer. Did they find blind women or something?

Brings to mind the Tommy Chong quote to explain how the stunning Jill St. John was dating Henry Kissinger:

"Chicks dig power."

10 posted on 10/15/2009 5:58:11 PM PDT by Dahoser (The missus and I joined the NRA. Who says Obama can't inspire conservatives?)
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To: highlander_UW

Is this out yet?


11 posted on 10/15/2009 6:02:02 PM PDT by wastedyears (If I don't have a right to play defense, then I'll go on offense. - FReeper Enterprise)
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To: highlander_UW
a bunch of scuzz buckets versus decent guys - separation of the wheat from the chaff, indeed.
12 posted on 10/15/2009 6:02:55 PM PDT by maine-iac7 ("He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help" LINCOLN)
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To: highlander_UW

Ronald Reagan would constantly interact with his secret service agents and other staffers who worked for him. He was apologetic when he would take secret service agents away from their families on holidays. While Carter would make secret service agents pay for any leftover food they consumed after White House parties, we are told Reagan would insist the secret service eat leftover food (without charge, of course).

George H.W. Bush also comes across as eminently decent. The Bushes, for instance, would stay home on Christmas Eve so that the agents could spend at least some time with their families. “Both [President Bush] and Mrs. Bush are very thoughtful, and they think outside their own little world. They think of other people,” one agent commented to Kessler.

Bush’s successor President Clinton comes across fairly well if sometimes inconsiderate, while Hillary Clinton is depicted as a monster. “Hillary did not speak to us,” one agent told Kessler. “We spent years with her. She never said thank you.”

Vice President Al Gore was exceedingly obnoxious to his agents according to Kessler. When scolding his son for not doing well in school, Gore chastised him by warning that “if you don’t straighten up, you won’t get into the right schools, and if you don’t get into the right schools you could end up like these guys.” The “guys” Gore was referring to were his secret service agents!

Liberals are contemptuous of the common man...

13 posted on 10/15/2009 6:03:04 PM PDT by GOPJ (Nominated:Chamberlain, Hitler, Stalin. Winners: Arafat,Carter, Gore, Obama.(Nobel Prizes of Shame))
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To: Western Phil
Hard to make that judgment when one hears Obama talk about his immediate predecessor.

One must remember that the point of view of the opinions is that of the Secret Service agents. Obama may be reasonable to those agents while yet being a partisan boor to others.

14 posted on 10/15/2009 6:03:10 PM PDT by highlander_UW (To anger a conservative tell him a lie. To anger a liberal tell him the truth.)
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To: mnehring
With the exception of LBJ being a serial adulterer. Did they find blind women or something?

I read in an LBJ bio - may have been the Dallek book - where LBJ was very sensitive about being compared to JFK as to who was most skilled at womanizing. The quote from LBJ was something like, "Hell I got more tail by accident than Kennedy did on purpose."

15 posted on 10/15/2009 6:05:24 PM PDT by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
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To: highlander_UW

What about Michelle? I can’t see her being a considerate sweetheart with the help.


16 posted on 10/15/2009 6:08:32 PM PDT by Combat_Liberalism
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To: mnehring
Did they find blind women or something?

Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote an - ahem - intimate biography of LBJ. Lady Bird Johnson was once asked about his serial philandering and said that LBJ loved everybody in the whole world and 50% were women.

17 posted on 10/15/2009 6:08:43 PM PDT by Timocrat
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To: decimon

A friend of my daughter worked IN the Clinton White House. Some of the many women who came to the White House WERE NOT “visiting” Bill!


18 posted on 10/15/2009 6:09:12 PM PDT by WellyP
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To: wastedyears
It does appear to be available, I found it listed on Amazon.com with 142 reader reviews (of course frequently one can find reviews on books that haven’t even been released, especially when they are political).
19 posted on 10/15/2009 6:09:30 PM PDT by highlander_UW (To anger a conservative tell him a lie. To anger a liberal tell him the truth.)
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To: highlander_UW
Lyndon Johnson was essentially a serial adulterer and a lunatic. “If Johnson weren’t president, he’d be in an insane asylum,” said one former agent

No more presidents from Texas.

20 posted on 10/15/2009 6:11:34 PM PDT by dragnet2
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To: highlander_UW

Not the first one... my father was pleased to own “Starling of the White House.”


21 posted on 10/15/2009 6:12:16 PM PDT by GAB-1955 (I write books, love my wife, serve my nation, and believe in the Resurrection.)
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To: highlander_UW

Thank you to moderator for correcting the title, much appreciated.


22 posted on 10/15/2009 6:13:56 PM PDT by highlander_UW (To anger a conservative tell him a lie. To anger a liberal tell him the truth.)
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To: highlander_UW
Vice President Al Gore was exceedingly obnoxious to his agents according to Kessler. When scolding his son for not doing well in school, Gore chastised him by warning that “if you don’t straighten up, you won’t get into the right schools, and if you don’t get into the right schools you could end up like these guys.” The “guys” Gore was referring to were his secret service agents!

As if I didn't dislike Al Gore enough already.

Really Al. We all know that no one from your clan has the integrity or courage to be in the Secret Service. Not to mention none of you have the ability to make it past the battery of psychological exams.

23 posted on 10/15/2009 6:14:12 PM PDT by constitutiongirl ("Duty is ours. Consequences are God's."- General Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson)
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To: mnehring

Don’t know about the serial part, or HOW serial, but there was a pretty well-known story shortly after LBJ became president, that Ladybird caught him doing the hucklebuck with a female staffer in the White House......IN THE ACT!

That he was “insane” or anywhere near it is brand new information.


24 posted on 10/15/2009 6:18:08 PM PDT by Tucker39 (I Tim. 1:15b " .....Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.")
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To: WellyP

I had a friend whose brother-in-law as a SS agent on the Clinton detail and he confirmed that as well. Actually, he was a devout Christian and asked to be removed from their detail because of the philandering on the part of both.


25 posted on 10/15/2009 6:18:42 PM PDT by Jackson57
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To: Jackson57

I know a Capitol Cop and he said Clinton was pleasant to everyone but especially to women. But there was a handler to keep women away. Otherwise, Clinton was a REALLY smart redneck frat boy.


26 posted on 10/15/2009 6:24:35 PM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: mnehring
With the exception of LBJ being a serial adulterer. Did they find blind women or something?

It's quite true. LBJ was probably the most venal and base president we ever had.

Unlike JFK, he was not a man who sought "conquests". He didn't want to have to work for it. One of his favorite "companions" was his ranch foreman's wife.

27 posted on 10/15/2009 6:28:55 PM PDT by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance on Parade)
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To: constitutiongirl
I was walking up the back stairs of the downtown Omaha Hilton when Al Gore was being escorted down by his secret service agents. His sneer was laughable.
28 posted on 10/15/2009 6:50:24 PM PDT by conejo99
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To: highlander_UW

My father was a member of the presidential aircrew on Air Force One during the Carter and Reagan administrations. I heard many stories about what a fake Carter was and how rude Roslyn was to the stewards. They referred to these airmen as “the help”. The Carter’s had absolutely no class. Reagan was a gentleman and was very respectful to the crew. The crew and their families were invited to the White House several times under Reagan. Never under Carter. Oh, yeah. The thing about the empty bags is true.


29 posted on 10/15/2009 7:09:28 PM PDT by Terpin (Missing: One very clever and insightful tagline. Reward for safe return!)
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To: mnehring

Doris Kearns Goodwin is blind??? Or maybe LBJ was blind. Was he a drinker? Blind drunk maybe.


30 posted on 10/15/2009 7:31:06 PM PDT by altura
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To: highlander_UW

Bump....


31 posted on 10/15/2009 7:31:47 PM PDT by Intolerant in NJ
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To: highlander_UW

In August I posted the original thread about this then upcoming book. The best and most revealing items about the presidents were:

Lyndon Johnson

“Johnson would come on the plane and the minute he got out of sight of the crowds, he would stand in the doorway and grin from ear to ear and say, ‘You dumb sons of bitches. I piss on all of you,’ “ recalls Robert M. MacMillan, an Air Force One steward.

Jimmy Carter

At a press conference, Carter denied reports that White House aides had to ask him for permission to use the tennis courts. In fact, even when he was traveling on Air Force One, Carter insisted that aides ask him for permission.

Charles Palmer, chief of the Air Force One stewards, said Carter seemed to relish the power. At times, Carter would delay his response, smugly saying, “I’ll let them know,” Palmer says. “Other times he would look at me and smile and say, ‘Tell them yes.’ I felt that he felt it was a big deal.”

Ronald Reagan

When the news broke that Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart was having an affair with Donna Rice, ... an aide blocked the closing elevator doors to tell Reagan about Hart.

“Boys will be boys,” Reagan said, according to former agent Ted Hresko.

When the door of the elevator shut, Reagan said to Hresko, “But boys will not be president.”


32 posted on 10/15/2009 8:34:16 PM PDT by tlb
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To: mnehring
With the exception of LBJ being a serial adulterer. Did they find blind women or something?

Power, on its own, is, and has been, an aphrodesiac for millenia. Nothing new there. Not surprising at all...

the infowarrior

33 posted on 10/16/2009 1:35:13 AM PDT by infowarrior
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To: highlander_UW

If they wrote the stuff after the President passed away, people might say the agent was making it up and that it couldn’t be refuted because the former President was deceased.

I think if the President knows that how they behave and treat others could come out at any time, it might be a way of keeping them humble and decent since they are public servant, after all.


34 posted on 10/16/2009 6:49:14 AM PDT by ET(end tyranny)
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To: highlander_UW
While many conservatives may bristle at the domestic and foreign policies of current President Barack Obama, judged by the way he treats his secret service agents it is fair to conclude that Obama is personally a decent man. One agent who protected Obama on the campaign trail says that Obama twice invited agents to dinner at his home.

Operative words here are 'on the campaign trail'. Has he asked them to dinner at the WH?

35 posted on 10/16/2009 6:50:37 AM PDT by ET(end tyranny)
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To: ET(end tyranny)
Operative words here are 'on the campaign trail'. Has he asked them to dinner at the WH?

I only stumbled across an article about the book. I haven't read it but perhaps that's addressed in the book, I don't really know.

36 posted on 10/16/2009 8:01:43 AM PDT by highlander_UW (To anger a conservative tell him a lie. To anger a liberal tell him the truth.)
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To: highlander_UW

I read it about 2 weeks ago. Quick read and pretty interesting. Reagan, George HW Bush and W are depicted as we would expect...true gentlemen and considerate. Laura apeears to be the one most loved by all. Carter, LBJ, Roslynn, Hil and Al Gore creeps all and Nancy Reagan was not a favorite.

I think there will be more to learn about the O’s in a few years. It appears that they are on their best behavior right now.


37 posted on 10/16/2009 10:22:50 AM PDT by surrey
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To: Combat_Liberalism

I found this in a Drudge article awhile back;

In the book, “In The President’s Secret Service”
It says that Michelle is very kind and appreciative of
the Secret Service agents that protect them.


38 posted on 10/16/2009 3:26:15 PM PDT by potlatch (Actions Speak Louder Than Words)
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To: potlatch

okay.


39 posted on 10/16/2009 7:50:11 PM PDT by Combat_Liberalism
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To: Combat_Liberalism

I know most here won’t like reading that, but I believe in the truth.


40 posted on 10/16/2009 7:52:04 PM PDT by potlatch (Actions Speak Louder Than Words)
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To: highlander_UW
But the president subject to the greatest scorn is Jimmy Carter.

But the president subject to the greatest scorn--up till now--is Jimmy Carter.
41 posted on 10/16/2009 7:56:08 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: potlatch

I live in a very liberal state. Most of my friends and acquaintances are liberal. Not all liberals are arrogant asses but if there is an arrogant ass around, chances are he or she is a liberal. Those who call themselves “progressives” are even worse. My suspicion was that anyone arrogant enough to take a 300K+ job as top diversity doggy at a metropolitan hospital would more than likely turn out to be a smug arrogant ass, but as always, reality is much more complex than my particular prejudices. I’ll be interested to hear what information comes out after the administration is gone. The truth may be just as I originally suspected.


42 posted on 10/17/2009 8:50:35 PM PDT by Combat_Liberalism
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