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“I recorded every word Ronald Reagan said so that no one would ever misquote him,” Rohrabacher says.
Another, more startling image shows Reagan appearing to punch a young, bearded Rohrabacher in the face aboard Air Force One. He is quick to explain that the president was simply showing him how he used to throw fake punches when he was a film actor.
It was while working in the Reagan White House that Rohrabacher took an active interest in combating communism and became what he calls a “freedom fighter.” Rohrabacher got to know the leaders of the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, who were fighting against Soviet occupation of the region.
His belief in the cause ran so deep that he eventually headed to the battlefield. In the weeks before his 1988 election to Congress, Rohrabacher packed his bags and joined a mujahedeen infantry unit on the front line.
“I figured I had two months to do what I wanted before the State Department strangled me,” he says.
Rohrabacher ended up going through some artillery barrages. A small piece of dark shrapnel mounted on a plaque in his office recalls the period.
These days the only fighting Rohrabacher sees is on the House floor. Now that he is a husband and father, he spends more time at home and less time in harm’s way.
But if he ever needs a reminder of the adventures of his youth, all he needs to do is look around his office to take a stroll down memory lane.