GOP's Ailing Phone System Reaches Hospital--Often

Associated Press

The last thing patients in Mesquite Community Hospital expected was to get a telephone call from President Reagan. But he called and called and called again.

An automatic telephone system used by the Republican National Committee to get out the GOP vote in today's elections apparently malfunctioned, triggering repeated recorded messages from the President to the hospital in this Dallas suburb.

The calls came every few minutes between 5 and 9 p.m. on Saturday, said Bob Grimes, associate hospital administrator.

"Hello, this is Ronald Reagan. They're keeping me on a pretty busy schedule around here, so I hope you'll understand I can't call you in person," each call began. "I know you're probably busy too. I'm calling because I need your help."

Grimes said the patients and nurses did not welcome the calls.

"There were a lot and they were very aggravating. I'd like to know who did it," Grimes said.

Under the GOP program, the calls were to be made from various points to registered Republicans and Reagan supporters in specific areas of 25 states, said Bob Schmermund, press secretary for the Republican National Committee in Washington.

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