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A Multipurpose Hammer

Samuel K. Skinner believed President George H.W. Bush was in harm’s way. In June 1992, Bush was scheduled to make a speech in Panama City praising the revival of democracy there.

Skinner, then serving as Bush’s chief of staff, joined the president on the trip. Bush was set to deliver his speech at an outdoor downtown plaza when gunfire rang out.

“We had to evacuate there immediately because we assumed it was a threat on the president,” Skinner said. Skinner had only one thing on his mind — and it wasn’t his own safety.

“The sole focus is on making sure the Secret Service gets the president out,” he said.

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