Former President Ronald Reagan wisecracked, "Was that a Democrat by chance?" after an anti-nuclear activist rushed the stage during a speech and smashed a crystal statue. Reagan was hit by flying glass but wasn't hurt.
Secret Service agents tackled the man Monday before he could take the microphone.A witness said the man had walked up stairs on the side of the stage. A Secret Service spokesman said he didn't know how the man got past agents.
Reagan, 81, was hustled off the stage but returned to finish his luncheon address to the National Association of Broadcasters, which had given him its Distinguished Service Award and presented him with the 2-foot crystal statue.
He drew laughter as he asked, "Was that a Democrat by chance?"
"I think I'm going to go out and see who that guy is," Reagan said as he ended his 20-minute address at the Las Vegas Hilton. He pushed up his sleeves as if preparing to fight, grinned and waved as he left the stage.
Richard Paul Springer, 41, of Arcata, Calif., was arrested on a preliminary charge of assault on a federal officer, a Secret Service agent, said Secret Service spokesman Carl Meyer in Washington. He awaited arraignment Tuesday.
Springer had darted to the podium, raised the 30-pound statue over his head and smashed it.
"Excuse me, President Reagan," he said as he tried to grab the microphone.
Reagan appeared shocked as three Secret Service agents knocked the man into the podium and wrestled him to the floor. As he was led away, Springer shouted, "There's a nuclear test Tuesday . . . tomorrow afternoon!"
Reagan was jostled and was hit in the head by a chunk of glass, spokeswoman Cathy Goldberg said.