White House staff were so concerned about Ronald Reagan's mental state that they gave him a test on global events, according to a new book.
Bill O'Reilly spoke to INSIDE EDITION about the claims in his newly-published best-selling book, Killing Reagan.
"That is the most dramatic part of the book -- that his own guys are not sure he can carry on in his second term," he said. "He's given a quiz -- doesn't know he's taking it. Global events. He passes it and they all breathe a big sigh of relief.”
The book looks at the 1981 assassination attempt - and how it changed the course of the Reagan presidency.
The TV host said: “Reagan came within a whisper of dying and when he recovered he wasn't the same guy. The doctors were nervous because they didn't think he'd pull through. The bullets had done severe damage to him.”
The attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan is a moment seared in history.
Chaos reigned as Reagan’s press secretary James Brady and two others were left bleeding on the sidewalk. Cops and Secret Service agents swarmed the shooter, John Hinckley, Jr., and the wounded president was rushed to the hospital.
IE's Les Trent said to O'Reilly: “You write it was the beginning of his mental decline.”
“He came out in his jammies with Nancy and waved from his hospital window, but his own people said he had good days and bad days. On his good days, he was brilliant. On his bad days he couldn't even go to work. He stayed in his residence and watched soap operas on TV,” O’Reilly said.
Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s six years after leaving office. He died in 2004 at age 93. In his final days, Nancy Reagan devoted herself heart and soul to her beloved Ronnie.
“Nancy Reagan had a real diva streak. But then at the end, when her husband was ill, she rose to the occasion, became a hero,” O’Reilly said.
Killing Reagan is the latest blockbuster history from O’Reilly.
He said about his popular books: “They're all close to my heart -- and Reagan takes that place too because I didn't know how brave Ronald Reagan really was.”
Click here to download a PDF excerpt from KILLING REAGAN: THE VIOLENT ASSAULT THAT CHANGED A PRESIDENCY by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard - by arrangement with Henry Holt and Company, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers, copyright (c) Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard 2015.