Ron Kesslor, a journalist and former secret service agent, reveals some interesting snippets about the service, the presidents and he and his fellow agents served in his book “The First Family Detail.”

Then we take a look at how a collection of historians view the effectiveness of our past presidents.

First, the secret service agent’s take.

John & Jacqueline Kennedy

“A philanderer of the highest order.”

“She ordered the kitchen help to save all the left-over wine from State dinners, mixed it with fresh wine and served it again during the next White House occasion.”

Jimmy & Rosalyn Carter

“A complete phony who would portray one picture of himself to the public and very different in private; e.g., Would be shown carrying his own luggage but the suitcases were always empty.  He kept empty ones just for photo ops.  He wanted people to see him as pious and a non-drinker but he and his family drank alcohol a lot!  He had disdain for the Secret Service and was very irresponsible with the “football” with nuclear codes.  He didn’t think it was a big deal and would keep military aides at a great distance.  Often did not acknowledge the presence of Secret Service personnel assigned to serve him.”

“She mostly did her own thing.”

Ronald & Nancy Reagan

“The real deal, moral, honest, respectful and dignified.  They treated Secret Service and everyone else with respect and honor, thanked everyone all the time.  He took the time to know everyone on a personal level.  One favorite story was early in his Presidency when he came out of his room with a pistol tucked on his hip.  The agent in charge asked:  “Why the pistol, Mr. President?”  He replied, “In case you boys can’t get the job done, I can help.”  It was common for him to carry a pistol.  When he met with Gorbachev, he had a pistol in his briefcase.

“She was very nice but very protective of the President and the Secret Service was often caught in the middle.  She tried hard to control what he ate.  He would say to the agent, “Come on, you gotta help me out.”  The Reagan’s drank wine during State dinners and special occasions, otherwise they shunned alcohol.  The Secret Service could count on one hand the times they were served wine during family dinners.  For all the fake bluster of the Carters, the Reagan’s were the ones who lived life as genuinely moral people.”

George H. & Barbara Bush

“Extremely kind and considerate, always respectful.  Took great care in making sure the agents’ comforts were taken care of.  They even brought them meals.  One time she brought warm clothes to agents standing outside of Kennebunkport.  One was given a warm hat and, when he tried to say “no thanks” even though he was obviously freezing, the President said, “Son, don’t argue with the First Lady.  Put the hat on.”  He was the most prompt of the Presidents.  He ran the White House like a well-oiled machine.”

“She rules the house and spoke her mind.”

Bill & Hillary Clinton

“That presidency was one giant party.  Not trustworthy.  He was nice mainly because he wanted everyone to like him but to him life is just one big game and party.  Everyone knows about his sexuality.”

“She is another phony.  Her personality would change the instant cameras were near.  She hated, with open disdain the military and Secret Service.  She was another who felt people were there to service her.  She was always trying to keep tabs on Bill Clinton.”

Gerald & Betty Ford

“A true gentleman who treated the Secret Service with respect and dignity.  He had a great sense of humor.”

“She drank a lot.”

Lyndon & Lady Bird Johnson

“Another philanderer of the highest order.  In addition, LBJ was as crude as the day is long.  Both JFK and LBJ kept a lot of women in the White House for extramarital affairs and both had set up early warning systems to alert them if/when their wives were nearby.  Both were promiscuous and oversexed men.”

“She was either naïve or just pretended to not know about her husband’s many liaisons.”

Richard & Pat Nixon

“A “moral” man but very odd, weird, paranoid.  He had a horrible relationship with his family and was almost a recluse.”

“She was quiet most of the time.”

George & Laura Bush

“The Secret Service loved them.  He was the most physically in shape with a very strict workout regimen.  The Bushes made sure the entire administration and household staff understood that they were to respect and be considerate of the Secret Service.”

“She was one of the nicest first ladies, if not the nicest.  Never had a harsh word to say to anyone.”

Barack & Michelle Obama

“Hates the military and looks down on the Secret Service.  He is egotistical and cunning.  He looks you in the eye and appears to agree with you, but turns around and does the opposite.  He has temper tantrums.”

“She is a complete bitch who basically hates everybody who is not black, hates the military and looks at the Secret Service as servants.”

So much for the insider gossip.  Now, the historians.

There is no way to validate the opinions of historians and recognize these are opinions, not facts—so here are the effectiveness rankings of various U.S. Presidents.  In general, liberal and conservative oriented historians agree.

1.  Abraham Lincoln
2.  George Washington
6.  Harry Truman
7.  Dwight Eisenhower
8.  Bill Clinton
11.  Ronald Reagan
12.  Lyndon Johnson
17.  George H.W. Bush
18.  Barack Obama
24.  Gerald Ford
34.  Richard Nixon
35.  George W. Bush



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