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Bill Smith

December 31, 2014

Former Attorney General William French Smith was a close friend of the President and First Lady; so when the Camp David operator said that Bill Smith was on the line, the President’s executive assistant allowed the call to go through.

They spoke for about 45 minutes, exchanging ideas on education policy, even though the caller was not the former Cabinet officer.  The call screener had mistakenly put through a Bill Smith from North Carolina.

Later that day, when the President mentioned the call to his executive assistant, he offered no words of reprimand.  Although the President knew all along that he received the call due to an error, he had been delighted by the chance to speak with an ordinary American.  That’s just how Ronald Reagan was.

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