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Automatic System Malfunctions, Keeps Redialing : Hospital Gets Big Dose of Reagan Calls

November 03, 1986|Associated Press

MESQUITE, Tex. — The last thing patients in Mesquite Community Hospital expected was to get a telephone call from President Reagan. But he called and called and called again.

An automatic telephone system used by the Republican National Committee to get out the GOP vote in Tuesday's elections apparently malfunctioned, triggering repeated recorded messages from the President to the hospital in this Dallas suburb.

The calls came every few minutes between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday, said Bob Grimes, associate hospital administrator.

"Hello, this is Ronald Reagan. They're keeping me on a pretty busy schedule around here, so I hope you'll understand I can't call you in person," each call began. "I know you're probably busy, too. I'm calling because I need your help."

Grimes said the patients and nurses did not welcome the calls.

"There were a lot (of calls), and they were very aggravating. I'd like to know who did it," Grimes said.

Texas voters were not supposed to get any calls over the weekend, and Republican National Committee officials don't know how the hospital was barraged by the recordings, he said.

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