Having a drink with Scott Bland

By Kevin Tankersley

I was in the Secret Service for six years. Of course, we had the president at the time [George W. Bush], and the ranch was in our district. I was detailed out to George Bush several times, and I had every South Texas hunting trip [Dick] Cheney ever made. I was on the trip where [Harry Whittington] got shot in the face. I was on an evening shift, and he got shot in the morning. I heard about it coming in.

[Cheney] was actually great. His private persona and public perception were polar opposites. He had a great sense of humor. He was enjoyable to be with. I really like Dick Cheney. Mommy and Daddy [George and Barbara] Bush were the best.

I [was assigned to] Bill Clinton several times. He was fantastic. I liked Bill a lot. He was a great guy. Good sense of humor. He had a good time with us. I had Hillary a couple of times. In my experience, she was just not pleasant to be around.

In late 2005, I was talking to my father on the phone. I was in New York because we did the U.N. every year, and I had just missed my daughter taking her first steps. Dad said, ‘I think I’m going to retire and close the business [Jim Bland Construction].’

I said, ‘Hold that thought.’ I stayed on [with the Secret Service] until the following June. My wife had secured a position with Providence Hospital. I retired my commission.

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