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25th Amendment

Improving the White House Plans for Presidential Inability

After John Hinckley, Jr. shot President Ronald Reagan and three others outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in 1981, confusion reigned. Reagan was rushed to emergency surgery and Vice President George H.W. Bush was difficult to reach aboard Air Force Two. A Soviet nuclear submarine was moving closer to the United States, but senior officials in the Situation Room quibbled over who was in command of the military. Secretary of State Alexander Haig announced to the press that he was “in charge,” even though he was not next in the line of succession.

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