The first edition of Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge by H. Anthony Medley was the fastest selling beginning bridge book, going through more than 10 printings. This updated Second Edition includes some modern advanced bidding systems and conventions, like Two over One, a system used by many modern tournament players, Roman Key Card Blackwood, New Minor Forcing, Reverse Drury, Forcing No Trump, and others. Also included is a detailed Guide to Bids and Responses, along with the most detailed, 12-page Glossary ever published, as well as examples to make learning the game even easier. Click book to order.  




Tony Medley

Michael Reagan is a proud conservative, a writer and radio talk show host. “The Michael Reagan Show” has more than 5 million listeners across over 200 stations. The adopted son of President Ronald Reagan and his first wife, Jane Wyman, he is active in the world of adopted and foster children. His book, Twice Adopted, tells about the love that is abundantly present in the world of the adopted. As Sean Hannity says, “Mike’s story will make you angry. It will bring tears to your eyes. It will challenge, inform, and motivate you…It will change your life.” You can learn more from his website, I met him at Chez Nous Restaurant in Toluca Lake.



TONY:            Well tell me how you got started here, how did all of a sudden – I mean, I know it wasn’t all of a sudden, but how did you become a writer and a talk show host?

MICHAEL:      You know, it’s really interesting – it probably was forced on me.  A lot of people don’t know that.  It’s when your last name is “Reagan,” it’s like something you can’t get away from.  No matter what you do  -- I joked during this last campaign – I said “I have this feeling that if I was caught robbing a bank and as they’re putting handcuffs on me and putting my head down to put me in the back seat of the car, somebody would say to me ‘So, who do you think is going to win the election?’”  It’s like something that is hard to get away from. I was in the boat business for years. I was their top unit salesman in Los Angeles for about 10 years running.  Then dad became President of the United States and my life changed.  All of a sudden, I’m selling boats with 10 secret service agents around 24 hours a day.  So it makes it a little tough to be able to sell and have agents with you when you go on demonstrations.  You come back from demonstrations and they’re with you.  So I had to get out of the business. Interestingly, I could not find a job.  My dad was President of the United States and I could not find a job. I used to joke and say “the democrats think that your parents take care of you and the Republican parents say, ‘take of yourself.’”  So I was like between a rock and a hard place.  My wife and I started a company called “MCR International.”  She had been in sales and I’m in sales and we thought “maybe what I should do is go out and go back to boat racing.”  I had been boat racing back in the sixties.  I was champion in 1967 and inboard rookie of the year. So I said “why not go back to boat racing but this time do events that are long in distance and are done as fund raising events.”  So the first one I did was on the Mississippi River between New Orleans and St. Louis.  I raised half million dollars for the U.S. Olympic Team, sponsored by Budweiser.  So, I did that for more than half of the 1980s.  We had one for Cystic Fibrosis, and one for the U.S. Olympic Team, and one for Juvenile Diabetes, as examples.  So I created all of that and figured “the press is going to come after me if I’m raising money for charitable causes,” because the press is looking to find a Billy Carter in every first family.  They were really kind of coming after me in that way.  So we did that during the 80s – during that time I had dabbled in doing talk radio – guest hosting, but I saved all my tapes.

TONY:            But how did you dabble in that?  How did you get started?

MICHAEL:      I went over to KABC Radio in Los Angeles.  My wife, when she moved out here, moved out with her best friend who was working at KABC and was in charge of the syndication for Michael Jackson, for that whole operation when they got syndicated.  We went over to have lunch and I met him there and . . .

TONY:            Met who, Michael Jackson or . . ?

MICHAEL:      My wife’s best friend, Kittie, who was Assistant to George Green, who was the general manager at the time, so we went over to meet Kittie for lunch.  She introduced me to George Green and George and I started talking and George said to me “You’ve got a nice personality, ever thought about doing talk radio?”  This was July 12, 1983 and I said jokingly back to him “Oh I think about it every day, but nobody ever asked.”  And so George Green said “Michael Jackson is taking Monday off, why don’t you sit in for him?”  I said okay and my first interview I ever did on talk radio was with Charles Curalt, who is best known for his segments on the CBS Evening News, “On the Road with Charles Curalt.”  Charles Curalt said to George Green, after the interview  “George, that’s the best interview I have ever had on radio.  You had better find a way to keep this guy.”  And I thought, well that’s really kind of neat.  So I started doing Saturday and Sunday shows on KABC for a while, and I kept all my tapes.  In 1989, I got a call from KSDL Radio in San Diego to come down and guest host down there, which I did.  And they ended up offering me a contract and I went to work for them for three years.  I never moved – I lived here and I went down Monday, came back Wednesday, went down Thursday, came back Friday. I started my national show in 1992 on September 7th.  Then I got fired when some guy by the name of Rush Limbaugh became available.  I had no money.  I had to find work –a couple of guys (who?) said “let’s do something, we’ll find a studio”, but the only studio they could find was in San Diego.  So I drove from Sherman oaks (where I lived) to San Diego and back every day, 262 miles every single day doing this radio show and there was no money coming in.  We were selling time for about $3.00 a minute.

TONY:            How did you get an outlet?

MICHAEL:      They actually got some outlets.  I had one live station.  It was – I think it was KBIF in Seattle, but I had one live station, but the live station had Monday Night Football, so on Mondays when I was going down to do the show, I was doing 3 hour monologues.  I was basically reading the paper.  And I remember calling my mother – Jane Wyman’s my mom – calling my mom one day and just whining saying “This nuts, I’m driving 262 miles a day, there’s no money coming in, we’ve got the two kids, they’re in school, we can’t afford to put them through school, Coleen’s going to work what do I do mom?”  And my mom says “I’ll tell you what you do, you shut up and keep driving.”

TONY:            What did she mean by that?

MICHAEL:      And I said “What?”  She said “So, you don’t have to pay your dues?  Everybody pays their dues.  You’re paying your dues and some day when it’s a success, you know, you’ll feel good about it, but to sit there and whine that you’re working too hard to put it together is ridiculous, so just shut up and keep driving.”  She then hung up on me.

TONY:            Good for her.  Wow, tough love.

MICHAEL:      Geesh, thanks mom.  [Laughter]  And so that started my national show in 1992 and so now we just started our what – 16th, 17th year.

TONY:            So between the time you were filling in for Michael Jackson, it was 1984?

MICHAEL;      I was doing the boat racing.  I was still doing – I did a race – I set the record between Los Angeles and Seattle.  We did that race in honor of a young girl, Alex Deford.  You know, Frank Deford the writer?  We did it in honor of his daughter, Alex, who died of Cystic Fibrosis at 8 years of age.  And ABC 20-20 covered it.  Tom Brokaw was in the boat.  We raised $250,000 for Cystic Fibrosis.  Largest fund raiser they had ever had.  So it worked out really well.  We did a Juvenile Diabetes run back east, we did a run for the Statute of Liberty Foundation, Miami and New York.

TONY:            So you did that from 1983 to 1987?

MICHAEL:      So I did that basically from 1983 to 1987, got out in 1987 and was guest hosting radio shows and doing that kind of stuff until 1989 when I got the call.

TONY:            How did you get the guest hosting spots?

MICHAEL:      Because I would call people – I called radio stations, sent them my tapes.  Always a good idea to keep your tapes.  So I would send my tapes and you know, some people would bite.  A station in San Diego actually had me in for three weeks guest hosting.  At the beginning of the three weeks, they said they didn’t have a spot and at the end of three weeks, they offered me a job.

TONY:            So you did it all yourself – you didn’t have an agent or anything?

MICHAEL:      Didn’t really have an agent, you know what agents do.  Agents say “call me when you get the job and I’ll take 10 percent.”

TONY:            That’s right.  When you get a job, sign up with me.  [Laughter]

MICHAEL:      So that’s basically how I got into talk radio. I campaigned for my dad in 1976 and 1980.

TONY:            Did you ever consider being a lobbyist since your dad was President?

MICHAEL:      No, I really didn’t.  I never thought about that.  Never even thought about it.

TONY:            That’s how all these guys make money now.

MICHAEL:      Yeah, boy did I blow it.  No, I didn’t really think about it.  I mean I was doing what I was doing in sales.

TONY:            Knowing what I know about your dad, he probably wouldn’t have put up with that anyway.

MICHAEL:      No, he wouldn’t have – he absolutely wouldn’t have.  It’s not going to happen in my family.  But, no, I campaigned – I say on my radio to this day, there are a lot of radio talk show hosts who talk about politics and campaigning, but there’s really only one of them who has actually walked all the precincts, actually knocked on all the doors, who has actually been in winning campaigns, who really gets it and understands it.  So I look at things through the eyes of somebody who really has been there – whether it’s the gubernatorial races of the 1960s and early 1970s, Presidential race in 1976 or 1980 or 1984, you know, the perspective that I bring to these things is completely different than what anybody else does and I kind of shake my head sometimes when I hear all of these people re-casting my father in their own image or likeness.

TONY:            Yes, I bet you do.  How do you keep your mouth shut?

MICHAEL:      I don’t.

TONY:            Yeah, that’s why you have your radio show.

MICHAEL:      I really don’t – I have a column I write every week.  The

TONY:            For News Max?

MICHAEL:      It’s on News Max, but it goes to about 400 newspapers.  And it’s on – Human Events carries it, News Max covers it, Worldwide Daily gets that.

TONY:            How did you get that?

MICHAEL:      A group out of Kagel Cartoons, actually is the syndicator.  They do a lot of stuff besides cartoons and I was one of their first people coming on.  Now they have about 400 newspapers – I make no money on it, but it’s all about branding.

TONY:            You don’t make money on it?

MICHAEL:      I make a few bucks, but not that much.

TONY:            I thought syndicated columns made a lot?

MICHAEL:      Not anymore – too much competition.  The internet kills you.  I mean, before the papers get it, the internet’s got it all over the place.

TONY:            Does Garthwiathe (editor of Newsmax) pay you anything?

MICHAEL:      Not that much, but I look at it more as a billboard.  It’s just branding.  You’re out there.  People think “where are you?”  I’m still there.  I put my column up and send it out to news outlets every week.

TONY:            How do you do that?

MICHAEL:      Just e-mail it to them.  E-mail it to ABC, NBC, CBS box, CNN.

TONY:            Whether they want it or not?

MICHAEL:      Whether they wanted it or not and sometimes – what I’d do because I do a lot of CNN and FOX, lot of times it will be because of my column or they’ll ask me a question based on that column.

TONY:            Do you get paid for being a Fox news analyst?

MICHAEL:      I used to get paid on that and then they dropped me as a contributor, which is probably good because it allows me now to do CNN and the other outlets, rather than just Fox.  I was saying to a group of people the other day – I was speaking to some young people and I said – I asked questions “How many watch Fox?”  You can imagine all those young kids (then he growls).  Then I ask “How many watch MSNBC?”  Same.  “How many watch CNN?”  Eh, a few went up.  What is really bothersome to me today is you don’t watch Fox for information, you watch it for affirmation.  You don’t watch MSNBC for information, you watch it for affirmation.  CNN is more centering itself now, trying to give more information, but still we’re trying to be affirmed, instead of getting information.  So often we argue about points that aren’t true.  You know, something comes across the internet, we think “that’s it, it was on the internet.  Let’s all talk about it.”  The internet and the Foxes and CNN and the MSNBCs all have their place.  Unfortunately, we’re knocking really good information that some guys would need to make a good decision.

TONY:            Are you on “Reliable Sources?”

MICHAEL:      No, I haven’t been on there.  That’s really interesting because that’s a weekend show though.

TONY:            It’s Sunday morning.

MICHAEL:      See I’ve really – I made a promise to my wife on January 20, 1989 when my dad went.  I looked at her and I said “done my last weekend unless you say it’s okay.”  Because I laugh at both parties always talking about the children and the family; how both parties are for the family, but neither one of the parties want you home on weekends.  They’ve always got an event for you to go to, and if you don’t stop it, it never ends.  Well, you did if for them, do it for me.  So I can actually count on three fingers how many weekends I’ve done since that time.  And I do, if Colleen, in fact okays it.  A couple of years ago, I was doing an interview with the LA Times.  I had a book out called “Twice Adopted.”  And the LA Times girl was interviewing, my daughter Ashley was there doing some stuff for me in my office with my mail and she walked in and the LA Times reporter looked at her and said “Tell me something about your dad right now that you think I need to know but I don’t know.”  And Ashley looked at her and said “He saves weekends for the family.”

TONY:            Wow, that was quick.

MICHAEL:      Now, she and I had never discussed this.  This was between her mother and me and I just sat back and went “Wow, I talked about the fact that in families there are more things caught than taught and really she caught that, that I saved weekends for family.

TONY:            How old was she?

MICHAEL:      This was about two years ago.  It was her last year of college.  She asked me to speak at on a Saturday out at Cal Lu, where she graduated – undergraduate, at a leadership conference, and I said “I’m there for you.”  I looked at my calendar.  I had booked a speech that Friday night in Sugarland, Texas for the Republican Party.  When I booked it, the year before, I looked at the wrong calendar and thought it was Thursday night, instead of Friday night.  So now I’m looking at Friday night and I’m in Sugarland, Texas.  I’ve got to be at Cal Lu Saturday morning, so I hired a private plane.  I took what my fee was for going to Sugarland, and it went into a private plane out of Van Nuys Airport and I told my staff “You guys, do you want to go to Sugarland, Texas for this speech? I’ve got a private plane.  I’ve got four empty seats.”  So I flew there and got back midnight that night from Sugarland, Texas, but I was there Saturday morning.

TONY:            Let me ask you about something, I have a niece that’s adopted.  You have three mother figures in your life, your birth mother, Jane Wyman, and Nancy.  How do you juggle that?

MICHAEL:      Jane Wyman’s my mom.  It’s really easy.  Jane is my mom.  I never knew my birth mother, Irene, but I’m closer to my birth sister, Terry. She and I shared the same birth father, John, and I’m closer to Barry, with whom I shared the same birth mother, Irene, than I probably ever have been to Patti or Ron.

TONY:            So you were all separated?

MICHAEL:      Who?

TONY:            Your birth brother and sister?

MICHAEL:      Oh absolutely. In 1987 I decided to do a search, with the help of my father.  I wrote a letter to my mom and all this stuff and it just literally came together in months by accident.  And so Barry and I first connected.  I wrote a book, “On the Outside Looking In,” and in the book I talked about it.  And then John happened to read the book and said “Well that’s not how it happened at all.”  He then contacted Barry whom he never knew, and then Barry came out here and we did a television show together. The reason I knew John Burholster was my birth father is because someone had sent me a photograph of him in the Fresno area in California, leaning against an old Ford. It was from a woman who said “Listen I was dating this guy in the 1940s or early fifties and he bragged about the fact that his son had been adopted by Ronald Regan and Jane Wyman.  I though he was giving me a line, but I guess he wasn’t and his name was John Burholster.”  So I had that photograph and that story and then John contacting Barry and it all kind of worked out.  But Jane was always my mom.  Nancy was never really my mom. She was my step mom.

TONY:            Who raised you?

MICHAEL:      Jane raised me until 14.  I moved in with my dad when I was 14.  I had gone through a lot of stuff in my life.  You know it’s not easy, you’re adopted into a family.  Your family breaks up.  And it’s interesting what I do in radio, because you look at what’s going on in the world today and say “Gee, so much of that stuff, I’ve lived.”  You know, your parents break up when you’re three years of age.  All of a sudden there’s another woman in your father’s life.  How do you deal with that?  That’s not easy to deal with for any child. You know it always seems to be about the parents and people always think that the children will just get though it and children don’t just get through it.  That’s what my book “Twice Adopted” is all about.  You know, we’re thinking with a child’s mind and adults are thinking with an adult mind.  We’re seeing it through a 3 year old, 4 year old, 5 year old’s eye, not through a 25 or 30 year old’s eyes and so, it wasn’t easy dealing with the fact that there’s another woman.  What do I do?  You know, I’ve got mom over here.  You’ve got Nancy over here.  What do you do during the holidays as you get older?  Where do you spend time?  You’re not in Hollywood with small egos.  You’re dealing with the egos of Hollywood – all this stuff.  “I’m a better actress than your mother.”  “No, mom’s a better actress and dad’s in the middle.” It’s interesting, when I got married to Lynn, Dad and Nancy and mom were all at the wedding, which was the first time the three of them had been in the same room in like forever.  And when the parents of the groom were asked to stand up for the pictures, and I’m telling you could have heard a pin drop in the room.  You had dad standing there with Nancy on one side – mom was over on the other side of the chapel and finally mom stood up and said “Come on Ron, let’s get our picture taken with our son.  We’ve had our picture taken before, Nancy will be fine.”  And dad went “whew.”  Then he got up and we had the picture taken.

TONY:            Did they get along after the divorce?

MICHAEL:      You know, it’s interesting, I don’t know if they did or not and I really didn’t know if they did or not until my mom passed away and I’m going through her things and found out she was a contributor to my father’s Presidential campaigns and there were thank you notes from my dad to my mom that she had thanking her for her support when he was President of the United States.  I never knew that.  I was looking at this stuff.

TONY:            So you thought there was a schism between them and there wasn’t?

MICHAEL:      Well not a schism, but you know, it’s like, there’s no reason to talk.  And mom was one of the great classy ladies of Hollywood.  You know, she had a rule and the rule was very simple because remember, she had “Falcon’s Crest” during the eighties.

TONY:            She had what?

MICHAEL:      She had Falcon’s Crest, the television show during the eighties.  So she was like the queen of the hop on television.  And, she had a very strict rule “You want to interview me fine, about the show, fine.  The second you bring up the President of the United States, the interview is over.”  They would try.  She would just get up and walk away.  And she did that and never said a word.  She was offered – you can imagine how much money she was offered for a book because we lived in that day and age and never did anything, never said a word until the day we buried my dad and then she put out a statement, “The world lost a wonderful, wonderful man.”  And that was it.  And so, really a classy, classy lady because so many others would have been right there, do a story, let me tell you the truth.  I’ll tell you what’s going on.  And maybe that’s how you learn more about Jane Wyman and find out why she has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – hand prints and foot prints at Gorman’s Chinese.

TONY:            You know, I always thought she was classy about being silent like that, but then I often thought that maybe it was because she really can’t stand him and is angry about it.

MICHAEL:      No, she was just – it was just something that was just the way she was, she just didn’t talk; didn’t talk about those kinds of things.  That was in the past.  And, I never knew.  I knew that Nancy and she were not good friends – but I don’t know any family where former wives and new wives really get along well, like on Desperate Housewives. But the fact that I was going through her things and actually find notes from my dad thanking her for her support.  I jut went “whew.”

TONY:            How about you and Nancy, do you still see her?

MICHAEL:      Not really, we haven’t spent a whole lot of time together since the funeral, and I really think that’s all.  Dad was the glue that held the family together and when dad was gone the glue really was gone.  She has her two kids, Patti and Ron, and Jane was my mom. So we haven’t spent a lot of time together.

TONY:            That’s too bad.

MICHAEL:      I just deal with it. But it’s just one of those things. I was Jane’s boy.

TONY:            Yeah, and now you don’t have either of your parents. That must be tough.

MICHAEL:      No, I don’t, but I’ve got my kids – I’ve got a great wife and that’s super.  I’ve got great friends out there who I’ve known for years.  But it would be nice. My wife lost her parents a few years ago, but she’s got a great family and I’ve got great friends.

TONY:            Do you have any animosity towards Rush Limbaugh for taking your spot.

MICHAEL:      Oh no, no, not at all.  It’s just “welcome to radio.”  That’s just business.  It’s dog eat dog.  You know, people think these conservative talk shows hosts, we all get on the phone every day and talk to each other.  What are we going to talk about today?  Actually, it’s seldom that we even talk to each other.  I mean, we all look at each other as competition.  You know everybody asks “If Rush disappeared, what would you do?”  I said, I’d call his stations and try to get them on my side.  That’s what I’d do.  And that’s what Rush would do and what any of us would do.  So, no, not at all, but it was interesting, my dad did call – early on in my syndication, my father called Rush Limbaugh’s people and said “Listen, could you help my son in his endeavors to syndicate his show.”  So I met with them, gave them my tapes and they came back at me and said “You know, we appreciate what you’re doing, but you’re not really qualified to do it and we can’t help you and the best thing you can probably do is get out of national talk radio and find a local show somewhere that you could do.”  I said “thank you so much.”  So, starting in 16th, 17th years in syndication, I feel pretty good because the people that told me that are no longer in the business.

TONY:            Is that right?  What were Rush Limbaugh’s qualifications to start out with?

MICHAEL:      The only qualifications are if people listen.  It’s all in people listening.  If they don’t listen, you have no qualifications.

TONY:            Well, I like to make these short because I usually get too much stuff to use and then it’s hell for me to write it because I can’t decide what to put out, but I would like to ask you what you think about Obama.

MICHAEL:      You know, I hope he becomes a great President.  I understand – again, this is sometimes the problems I have like on the conservative side – having been down this road on one or more occasions over all these years.  It’s not new to me.  I hope and pray he’s a good President.

TONY:            How do you think he’s starting out?

MICHAEL:      You look at the appointments.  Here’s what I think about the appointments.  Some you agree with, some you don’t agree with.  Eric Holder, you think he’s going to be a good guy.  Is he going to be supportive of the FBI, the CIA, whatever it might be?  The thing is, part of winning the election is you get to appoint the people you want to have in those positions.  I said on my show, “I wish the Democrats were as kind to George Bush back when George ultimately won 2000 as the Republicans seems to be at this point with Barack Obama and his choices because really, when you win, you get your choice to put people in place that you want in place.”  Now, when they’re in place and he is sworn in January 20th and he starts working towards whatever, okay if he makes a mistake, I’ll climb all over him.  But again, I think we would hope and pray that he’s a successful President, because if he’s not, we’re all in a lot of trouble.

TONY:            You know, I think his appointments are good, but where is the change he was talking about?  They’re all Clinton people.

MICHAEL:      Yes, but you know something.  It’s really interesting, if McCain would have been elected, it would have been all Bush people.  This is one of the problems with politics is the fact that it’s the same people on the same merry-go-round.  They get off for 4 and 8 years and then get back on the merry-go-round.

TONY:            Do you blame McCain for any of this?  I thought he ran a really horrible campaign.

MICHAEL:      Well he did run a terrible campaign.  I volunteered to speak at the Republic Convention and all I got was “We don’t want you to upstage our candidate.”  I tried to get an invite – when Palin was out here – to be onstage with her.  I couldn’t get a return call from the campaign.  And this was the McCain campaign.  They weren’t just doing it to me. They were doing it to volunteer after volunteer across the country who were trying to help. Just stubborn and wouldn’t listen. And that’s what’s been George Bush’s problem.

TONY:            What has irritated me since 1989 was the way George Herbert Walker Bush purged all the Reaganites out of his Administration.

MICHAEL:      Thank you for remembering that! I tell that story. Dick Cheney had 72 hours to purge everyone connected with Ronald Reagan out of the Defense Department.

TONY:            Why hasn’t anyone ever written a book about it?

MICHAEL:      I might. George Bush’s first action was to get rid of all of my father’s people. If my father was looking for a legacy, it would have been Reykjavik. Nancy, George Schultz, and everybody that wanted him to sign on to whatever Gorbachev was selling in Reykjavik.  That’s what they wanted to do.  That’s why they had my dad go there and Gorbachev wanted him to give up the Satellite Defense System, what everyone came to call Star Wars.  Had dad signed on to that, they would have felt that would have been his legacy.  But my father, in 1976, told me the reason he wanted to be President of the United States was so he could be the first President to look the leader of the Soviet Union in the eye and when the Soviet Union leader was telling him, the President, what it was he was going to have to give up to get along with them, he wanted to be the first President to say “nyet.”  So, there he was in 1986 and he looks at Gorbachev and says “it’s not going to happen – nyet.  I’m not going to sign off on that.”  His staff just goes numb because that’s what they wanted.  Little did they know the “no” to  Gorbachev would end up being the legacy of Ronald Reagan because from that point on, the Berlin Wall starts coming down, we bankrupt the Soviet Union because of the backside deals that my dad put together with the Saudis on the oil situation.  Again, all this knowledge, that Bush was never able to use.  And I’ve got to tell you, I called and volunteered on numerous occasions – telling them, “If you want to, call me – I know how the building got built and nothing has changed.  You can still do it the same way, and it will work.” But the problem is that everyone wants to change the game and you can’t.

TONY:            One last question, Bill Clark, did he want him to sign up too?

MICHAEL:      Oh no, Bill Clark, no.  Bill Clark was Ronald Reagan’s conscience.  Everybody else worked for my dad.  Bill Clark was his conscience because dad knew he could go to Bill Clark.  Bill would tell him that it wasn’t about politics, it was about reality.  Bill Clark was one of the great guys.

TONY:            That’s what I understood.