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Dan & Amy Remember Nancy Reagan w/ Tim McCarthy, Secret Service Agent Who Took a Bullet for Reagan

This morning, Dan & Amy interviewed American hero Tim McCarthy, a decorated Secret Service agent who took a bullet for President Reagan during the 1981 assassination attempt, who remembered fondly First Lady Nancy Reagan. Their families shared a special relationship after both Tim and President Reagan were shot in the line of duty. McCarthy will attend Mrs. Reagan's funeral service on Friday. McCarthy, a Leo High School grad, has served as the Police Chief of Orland Park, IL, since 1994. 

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Dan Proft: Dan and Amy; so Amy, interesting piece in New York Post by Peter Robinson. Peter Robinson was a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan; wrote an excellent book, actually; it’s maybe 10 or 12 years old, ‘How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life’; “Why Nancy Reagan was the indispensable woman”, writes Peter Robinson. He recounts two stories in his piece. This one I thought it was appropriate, in advance about our next guest. He recalls standing behind President Reagan in the Rose Garden one morning, as he delivered remarks that Robinson had drafted to an audience of young people, girl scouts, as he recalls; Robinson said his performance was a little bit off that day – his pacing was off, he seemed detached – and he writes, “for once, I think Ronald Reagan was having a bad day; then the movement on the second floor of the residence caught Reagan’s eye; he glanced up; Mrs. Reagan was standing at the window; she smiled, the president beamed, she waved, he waved back, and then he had everyone in the Rose Garden turn around and wave too; when he returned to his remarks, the president picked up the pace, appearing more involved and energetic, even more younger; a smile and a wave from Nancy – they were all Ronald Reagan needed”. Nice story; there’s a lot of nice stories, of course, flowing in; remembrances. We’re now pleased to be joined by another guest, another gentleman with a lot of memories of serving the Reagan's and serving this country honorably. He is Tim McCarthy – long time police chief of Orland Park, but before that he spent 22 years in the Secret Service, and of course most people who lived through the assassination attempt in 1981 remember that Tim McCarthy took a bullet for the President of the United States. We are honored to have Chief Tim McCarthy join us. Chief, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Tim McCarthy: Good morning, Dan. Dan Proft: I noticed on your bio, on the Village of Orland Park website, it mentions your 22 years of service in the United States Secret Service before becoming the Police Chief in Orland Park, but it doesn’t mention the assassination attempt and your role. Is there any reason for that? Tim McCarthy: No, Dan, I don’t think so. It’s something I’m very proud of, but I did what I was trained to do on that particular day; but I also did other things in the Secret Service, and none equally as important, I’m sure; I’m very proud of it, and I’m not looking for a job at the moment, and if I do, I’ll let him know about that too. Dan Proft: Okay, fair enough. Amy Jacobson: Chief McCarthy, after you took the bullet for Ronald Reagan and you developed a closer relationship with First Lady Nancy Reagan; tell me about that. Tim McCarthy: Well, naturally, after something like that, first of all, the President – Mrs. Reagan had no idea who Tim McCarthy was prior to that; there’s an awful lot of agents assigned to protect the president and the line agents, like myself; work three shifts, rotate every three weeks – so he really didn’t know me at all, nor did Mrs. Reagan, but after that, you know, on the day of the shooting, my wife was in the chapel praying with Mrs. Brady and Mrs. Reagan for the recovery of everyone; and it’s just natural when you go through a critical incident like that, that you often draw closer than you might otherwise, and of course, the consequences of losing a President are catastrophic, not just for the family, but the country and the world also. I think Mrs. Reagan understood all of those things and the consequences of something if they had lost the President. Dan Proft: What was it like – just develop what happened in terms of the relationship as you and James Brady and President Reagan were recovering from the injuries you sustained. Tim McCarthy: The first time I’ve really met the President and Mrs. Reagan in person, on a personal basis, is the day I got out of the hospital; I got out of the hospital after 12 days, but received a message to come down to see the President, who was still in the hospital for another week or so after I left; and it sounded a bit like an order, so I complied, and two of my children, at that time, went down to visit with the President and Mrs. Reagan in his room; he was still connected to a lot of different devices and so forth; my wife asserted nervous that the kids at that time found those devices all too interesting. Amy Jacobson: Oh yeah, don’t touch that button. Tim McCarthy: Exactly, and my wife was afraid that my kids were going to finish off the President. Amy Jacobson: What did he say to you and what did Nancy Reagan say to you? Tim McCarthy: We had a wonderful visit, and Mrs. Reagan said ‘Tim, we’re going to get together after this, because we certainly want to show our appreciation and so on’. I didn’t really know how that was going to happen, but lo and behold, they did invite us to parties at the White House, and it’s this time of the year they invite us to the St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon, and I was sitting at a table with the President, Maureen O'hara and Chip O'neal, and my wife was at a table with Mrs. Reagan and other hollywood and political celebrities, and it was kind of hard to fit in the conversation, I got to tell you, it was a little bit above my pay grade, but everyone was more than gracious and over the years the president constantly singled out myself and Mrs. Reagan as well, at different events, and sometimes it was a bit embarrassing, because I was actually past on the shift working the president as I was before, and it sometimes got embarrassing to be singled out, but in private, many times they would go out of their way to send a gift on different holidays and things like that. So Mrs. Reagan – I supervised the men and women assigned to protect her, and often traveled with her when she went overseas, to protect her in places that might appear to be a high threat level. We had a lot of conversations about many different things, including her husband, because – as you know – she certainly was instrumental in his political career; going from a Hollywood actor to Governor of California and president of the United States. She certainly had a lot of input into his presidency. Dan Proft: And what were those conversations like, the personal time you spent with First Lady, traveling around the world, even after the story has been written in terms of he’s in the second term as President of the United States, so this is the sunset of his political career; I wonder if Nancy Reagan changed at all during the time while you were still in the political realm. Tim McCarthy: She was first and foremost concerned about his safety when we had our conversations. Every now and again she would talk about his image, and how she felt maybe someone was unfair in regards to their covering the President, and to those that were fair, and I had little comments about that; that was really none of my business, but it was really interesting, so I’d probably just nod my head most of the time, but she would talk about when the President’s going on a trip here, and a trip there, and you know, I saw the advance team was already out, everything they’ve done is speed time, you know, the fast and the foreign governments that worked with us, from what I’m hearing; so she was logically concerned about that when we had conversations. Amy Jacobson: What was your last conversation with Nancy Reagan and when was the last time you saw her; and I assume you were heading to the funeral on Friday, correct? Tim McCarthy: We’re looking at the – yeah, we received notifications Saturday morning, so the logistics are going to be pretty tough, but we were on March of '14, my wife and I, we flew out to visit Mrs. Reagan and go to the library, and we went to the home in Bel Air, which way back when, when Mrs. Reagan was looking for a house, I went out there with her along with her whole security detail and a couple of top secret flights to California, to go house hunting, which naturally they didn’t want to publicize what houses they were looking at, or that they were even there. But there’s March of '14, and we were out there and my wife and I went to visit her, and she was in a wheelchair at the time, but eventually she was totally sharp, and totally in touch with everything going on, and I think the one thing I’ll remember is when we were leaving – first, we were there for about 45 minutes, and I didn’t know if we were getting her overly tired, so I said ‘Mrs. Reagan, maybe we’ll get going’, she said ‘Absolutely not; don’t go anywhere’; so we stayed for another hour, just discussing old times and the President and different experiences we had together, but at the end, when we walked out, she got out of her wheelchair and physically walked us to the door; she held onto my arm pretty tightly and her nurse that was there said she hadn’t went out of the chair in some time. But what I will remember is that a couple of weeks ago, in February, it was the President’s birthday, and I sent out a dozen red roses to Mrs. Reagan, just in memory of her husband, and she sent – it was just a week after that, the last week in February – she sent a really nice note back, thanked me for remembering, and that type of thing. Amy Jacobson: You got to frame that note. Tim McCarthy: Yeah, I will, you can count on that. It was funny, my wife and I were coming home from Indiana on Sunday morning when we first heard about her passing, and my wife – saying to Carol ‘Carol, I think I have my folder here in the car; I think I have the note she just sent us’; and I did, so it was fond memories of two wonderful people that had one remarkable life story; going from Hollywood actor and actresses to the White House; a heck of a story, and of course all Presidents accomplished a lot of things, and president Reagan had some significant accomplishments as well. Amy Jacobson: You’re making me cry. Dan Proft: Alright, he is long time Orland Park police chief, Secret Service agent, and I think people… Amy Jacobson: All around good guy. Dan Proft: He’s a bit modest, which I think it’s okay, but I think it’s fair to call Tim McCarthy an American hero; I think most people would say that, deservedly so; and we certainly appreciate your time, Chief McCarthy, and your remembrances of Nancy Reagan. Thanks so much for joining us. Tim McCarthy: Thanks Dan, thanks Amy.

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Renegade Dem State Rep. Ken Dunkin Wants Off Madigan's "Plantation"

State Rep. Ken Dunkin, an African-American Democrat whose district goes from "the Gold Coast to the Soul Coast" in Chicago, is bucking House Speaker Mike Madigan and calling on his fellow House Democrats to exercise independent thought to foster a deal on the state budget. Dunkin discussed with Dan & Amy the press conference he had after Gov. Rauner's State of the State Address where he brought a backpack and a sleeping bag and suggested he was prepared to stay in Springfield and sleep outside of Madigan's office until the Speaker stopped his "shenanigans" and started negotiating with Gov. Rauner.

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Dan: Dan and Amy show. Yesterday after Governor Rauner's State of the State Address, there was a lot of reaction from legislators including Madigan. But there was also a press conference yesterday afternoon by someone I describe as a renegade. Amy: He's [inaudible]. Dan: Democrat Illinois State Rep. His name is Ken Dunkin, from Chicago. Amy: You know, we spoke about him yesterday. Charles Thomas was on the air and you said that he was going to have a big press conference at 3 o'clock. Dan: And he did. And he showed up like he was preparing to climb Mt. Everest. Amy: I thought I'd seen 'Out of the Wild.' The movie? Dan: Yes. Right. 'Into the Wild.' A sleeping bag, backpack. . . Amy: Canned goods. Dan: Yeah. He's ready to camp out in Springfield until a budget's done saying, and I'm quoting from Natasha Korecki: "'We should not be held hostage to Michael Madigan's political shenanigans,' said Rep. Ken Dunkin" He also said this according to Scott Forek, it's over at the Sun-Times: "Waiting for Mike Madigan is plantation mentality." Amy: Oohh. Dan: I like them. Those are fighting words. All right, let's talk to the source. He is State Representative Ken Dunkin, from Illinois 5th District. Rep. Dunkin, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it. Rep. Ken Dunkin: Good morning, good morning. Thank you for having me. Dan: And so I don't understand where do you get off thinking that as a Democrat State Legislator, you're allowed to think independently from Mike Madigan. Rep. Ken Dunkin: You're right. What's a concept? And that's the part of the problem with us. The 71 of us here in the House of the Representatives. And there's no moving unless Mike Madigan greenlights it. There's no legislation that's moving, no negotiation, there's no plan unless one person tells us what the next steps are. So I just think he's a major part of the problem that we're having with the state in terms about pension debt, in terms of some of this [inaudible] economy. We should be [inaudible] in every state around us in terms of job growth. [inaudible] should be well-funded even if for 45 years. And here it is, we're in the 7th month with no budget merely because he doesn't want to talk to the governor. The senate president, [probably to the?] governor. If you're fighting in your house and someone leaves the toilet seat up or the cap off the toothpaste and you argue about it, but you resolve it. His say is and I've been here for almost 13 ? years. I'm telling you what I see, what I understand I've been on the plantation for quite some time. [And I sit?] there. It's just now I'm scratching my head and saying, "What the?" Amy: Okay. Rep. Ken Dunkin: You know what? Listen. Amy: So, I understand your passion and I hear it in your voice. So you're willing to sleep out in Madigan's office, and you slept there last night, too I mean, but this could go on for months. I mean, it's been 14 years, really, since we've had a complete [bounced/balanced?] budget. Rep. Ken Dunkin: You are absolutely correct. I'm willing to do whatever it takes. Now, me sleeping out in front of his office or inside his office does no one any good across the state unless other members are there. You know, are here with us, [the Springfield?]. The fact is we met for the first time in 28 days this year. Last year, after the regular session, special sessions, which were a joke, or a political [pardons?] [inaudible], we met maybe about 15, 16 times. Got nothing done. The speaker wants to go and maintain this teardown concept with the governor who multimillionaires tearing each other down, saying, "My way or the high way?" Dan: Well, let me ask you this, Rep. Dunkin. Mike Madigan was asked whether or not you should remain in the Democrat caucus in the house, and his response was: "That's a good question." Let me be the first to put down the Welcome carpet for you to come on over to the Republican side. We could use a few more legislators in Springfield. So what about that Madigan contemplating ex-communicating you? How do you respond? Rep. Ken Dunkin: See, that's a part of the problem. I'm a registered Democrat who happens to be able to seek independently of anyone [inaudible] of their political stride. And yes, I'm still 10 plus years into this. I've seen it all, I've seen enough. People will cross the state in my district, around the [inaudible] area, the [inaudible] bars, as well as the South Shore [inaudible] Community. From the Gold Coast to the [inaudible] Coast, they want to see solution. [inaudible] entertain anything else but that. Dan: Well, right. And so with super majorities and the general assembly of Democrats and with, as you say, Madigan being the speaker since the state was incorporated in the early 1,800s, and John Cullerton being there almost as long. I mean at some point, particularly your colleagues in the black caucus, and minority voters African-American, Latino voters in the city of Chicago. And the award, as you say, is from the Gold Coast and the Soul Coast I mean, the district from the Gold Coast to the [inaudible] Coast I mean the district from the Gold Coast to the [inaudible] Coast is you say that you represent. Is it time for them to consider stopping support for not only Madigan, but maybe for some of their own representatives who aren't willing to do what you're doing but just stand up to them? Rep. Ken Dunkin: You know, that [ultimate?] is going to be the deciding choice of the voter. Here's why members are [inaudible] and asleep: because the democratic part of Illinois, they [seem so comfortable?] for you, they [cuddle?] you in such a way that you don't have to think, you don't have to do anything because we would take care of your election [effort?], would've staved off any [challenges?]. When you're not forced to fight, you're trying to [inaudible] and you tend to neglect the citizens who's sitting you down there and negate them with various issues that you're saying that you're going to fight for. So with Mike Madigan being here for 45 years, he's creating a system that really speaks to a power that is [unpresent?] probably across the county. I mean, look at the red light [camera?]. [inaudible] with that situation and see who the players were in that. That speaks [inaudible]. Amy: Are you in the speaker's office right now? Dan: Yeah. Rep. Ken Dunkin: I'm next door. Amy: Okay. Look. But you spent the night there last night. How was it? Rep. Ken Dunkin: Well, we're in session right now, literally, as we speak. Dan: M-hmm? Rep. Ken Dunkin: And so tonight's going to be the night. I'm going to ask my members to spend the night on the house floor. Amy: Oh, like a sleepover. Okay. Dan: Oh, wow. All right, we'll send some canned goods. All right. That Rep. Ken Dunkin: No, we need something that's a little pressured than a can. Dan: How about S'mores? Rep. Ken Dunkin: When you send canned goods, send a can opener. Dan: Okay. Yeah, of course. Yes, right, yeah. Well, obviously, members of the General Assembly can't fund for themselves. They can't survive in the wild, we know that. You've got your housecats. I get it. You've got to be fed. Rep. Ken Dunkin: Right. Yeah. Dan: So Rep. Dunkin, now, one of the issues, and this has been pointed out by Democrats, is you're facing a primary challenge and you're getting independent expenditure support from Super PAC run by a Democrat, but somebody that's received funding from [inaudible] or allies. So are you just pretending to be an independent thinker because you've got a primary and you're being supported by allies of Rauner's or how do you respond to that charge? Rep. Ken Dunkin: I have the choice to do whatever Madigan wanted to have me do back in September, back in October, and November. I chose to put people before politics. Remember, all I had to do was to vote like Madigan wanted me to vote. Do what he told me to do. I picked the choice of [inaudible]. "Governor, release this money. This $2B for our disabled community, for our childcare assistance program, and our senior tour, homebound, and who are living in nursing homes." I chose those three categories over at the party. When a governor kept his word and released that, over $2BñI said, "I'm sitting with the people." And for some reason, that was so offensive to the Democratic Party and Mike Madigan. That, I guess [inaudible] preoccupied. Let me say this Amy: Well, you kicked the hornet's nest. Dan: Well, and he destroyed the narrative of Mike Madigan. Rep. Ken Dunkin: Exactly. No, he's overrated in a lot of categories. If members realize that it's okay to think, to fight, and to come up with new ideas and by the way, most of us [take?] money from any and everybody. We don't care if it's tobacco, liquor money, if it is from grandmother, or the guy on the street corner. We're having a fundraiser and we want support. I get that it shouldn't be a bad word compared to Mike Madigan's [inaudible]. Or [inaudible] or anyone else. [inaudible] we're on the same [inaudible] situation down here. Mike Madigan hosted a fundraiser for Dennis Hastert. Excuse me, for John Boehner. A few years ago. Dan: Yeah. And actually, he tried to get $500,000 in state funds to build a statue to Dennis Hastert. So that might Rep. Ken Dunkin: Isn't that something? Dan: Yeah. Rep. Ken Dunkin: So again, the [Parson politics?], it is really for the amateurs. The real deal for the elected officials I don't care what your [inaudible] is. Do right about the people in this state. If you know what's falling off [a pistol cliff?], let's come up with solutions together. Dan: Well Rep. Ken Dunkin: If you know when you can improve our public education across the state, do the right thing. Dan: Speaking Rep. Ken Dunkin: That's all about that. Dan: Speaking of public education particularly in Chicago, if I'm recalling correctly, you were a yes-vote for James Meeks's school choice bill back a few years ago. And so I wonder how you react to what's going on at CPS. The prospect of bankruptcy, they tried to do a $875M bond issue, they had to postpone it because they're junk-rated and the bond market basically spit it back out. What should be done about CPS in addition or something on the order of what the governor has proposed or something else? Rep. Ken Dunkin: I believe that every governor, every new-and-coming governor should have the right should have a honeymoon period. To see what it is that the majority of the people who elected this person can do. So we can [give on?] some things such as school funding reform, pension reform we know we have to address that. I don't have a problem with it. And part of the challenge is we have been sitting still at the same [inaudible], at the same rate, waiting on our leader, our so-called leader, Mike Madigan, to do XYZ and to tell us all the great ideas with very little or limited input and with worth the same level. Imagine was it Chase and Citibank, Citigroup rejecting the ability to buy our bonds. [inaudible] deal because if the bonds fail, our [inaudible], we're on the hook for all of his [debt?]. That is [unprecedented]. Unheard of in our city, in our state's history. So that speaks to a structural change that has to occur. [inaudible] and have that because the unions control most of the actions down here. And the speaker conveniently uses them when he wants to attack opponents who will [start?] different ideas, different you pay apple, I pay banana. That's the [inaudible]. [inaudible] this is his money and he's the smartest man in the room all the time. Dan: He is State Representative Ken Dunkin, Democrat, for Illinois 5th District. Democrat for now but my offer to come over to the Republican Party stands. So you think about that. State Representative Ken Dunkin, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate your time. Rep. Ken Dunkin: Thank you so much. Good morning. Amy: He joined us on our [inaudible].

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