Former President Ronald Reagan walked away with a bad taste in his mouth after being attacked by a swarm of light-loving gnats at a $1,000-a-plate fund-raiser with a group of Republican farm businessmen.
Reagan, appearing Thursday evening at the outdoor gathering of San Joaquin Valley agricultural businessmen to boost the gubernatorial campaign of Sen. Pete Wilson, spent much of his speech swatting insects and cracking jokes.
The gnats buzzed around the lighted podium, circling the former President as he tried to deliver his address and at times flying into his mouth.
Reagan coughed several times during the speech and at one point apologized for his voice, explaining, "Some of these gnats got inside."
A short time later, Wilson brought him a glass of water.
"They don't taste good at all," Reagan said, drawing a big laugh.
As he was leaving the event, Reagan was asked by a reporter what he thought of Roseanne Barr's controversial rendition of the national anthem at a recent baseball game in San Diego. "Once is enough," he said.