Gerald Ford

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Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr.
Gerald Ford

In office
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
Vice President(s)   Nelson Rockefeller
Preceded by Richard Nixon
Succeeded by Jimmy Carter

In office
December 6, 1973 – August 9, 1974
President Richard Nixon
Preceded by Spiro Agnew
Succeeded by Nelson Rockefeller

Born July 14, 1913
Omaha, Nebraska
Died December 26, 2006 (aged 93)
Rancho Mirage, California
Political party Republican
Spouse Elizabeth Bloomer Warren
Religion Episcopal

Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (July 14, 1913December 26, 2006) was the 38th President (1974–1977), and 40th Vice President (1973–1974) of the United States. Ford was the first person appointed to the vice presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment. Upon succession to the presidency, Ford became the only person to hold that office without having been elected either President or Vice President. Prior to 1973 he served for over eight years as the Republican Minority Leader of the House of Representatives; he was first elected to Congress in 1948 from Michigan's 5th congressional district.

In foreign policy the Helsinki Accords marked a move toward detente in the Cold War, even as the former ally South Vietnam was invaded and conquered by North Vietnam; Ford did not intervene, but did help extract friends of the U.S. At home the economy suffered from inflation and recession. Ford came under intense criticism for granting a preemptive pardon to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. In 1976 Ford narrowly defeated Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination, but lost the general election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.


[edit] Early life

[edit] Childhood

Leslie Lynch King, Jr. (later known as Gerald R. Ford), age three, 1916
Leslie Lynch King, Jr. (later known as Gerald R. Ford), age three, 1916

Ford was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. on July 14, 1913 at 12:43 AM CST, at 3202 Woolworth Avenue in Omaha, Nebraska. His parents, Leslie Lynch King, Sr., a wool trader whose father was a prominent banker, and his wife, the former Dorothy Ayer Gardner, separated 16 days after his birth. They divorced the following December. Ford's mother gained full custody and moved with her son to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where her parents lived.

As Gerald Ford recalled later in life, his biological father was abusive and had a history of hitting his mother.[1] James M. Cannon, who was the executive director of the domestic council during the Ford administration, wrote in a biography of the former president that the Kings' separation and divorce was sparked when, a few days after Ford's birth, Leslie King, Sr. threatened his wife, Dorothy, with a butcher knife and announced his intention to kill her, the baby, and the baby's nursemaid. His first abusive action, according to Ford, occurred on the couple's honeymoon, when King hit his wife for smiling at another man.[2]

On February 1, 1916, now settled in Grand Rapids, Dorothy King married Gerald Rudolff Ford, a salesman in a family-owned paint and varnish company who later became president of the firm.[3] She began calling her son Gerald Rudolff Ford, Jr. The future president was never formally adopted, however, and he did not legally change his name until December 3, 1935; he also used a more conventional spelling of his middle name.[4] He was raised in Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids with his three half-brothers by his mother's second marriage: Thomas Gardner (1918-1995), Richard Addison (born 1924), and James Francis (1927-2001). He also had three half-siblings by his father's second marriage: Marjorie (1921-1993), Leslie Henry, Sr. (1923-1976), and Patricia Jane (born 1925).

 Eagle Scout Gerald R. Ford (circled in red) in 1929
Eagle Scout Gerald R. Ford (circled in red) in 1929

Ford was not aware of his actual parentage until he was 17, when his parents told him about the circumstances of his birth. That same year his biological father, whom he described as a "carefree, well-to-do man", approached Ford while he was waiting tables in a Grand Rapids restaurant. The two "maintained a sporadic contact" until Leslie King, Sr.'s death,[1][5] but Ford maintained his distance emotionally, saying, "My stepfather was a magnificent person and my mother equally wonderful. So I couldn't have written a better prescription for a superb family upbringing."[6]

Ford joined the Boy Scouts of America, and attained that program's highest rank, Eagle Scout. He always regarded this as one of his proudest accomplishments, even after attaining the White House.[7] In subsequent years, Ford received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in May 1970 and Silver Buffalo Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He is the only US president who was an Eagle Scout.[8] Scouting was so important to Ford that his family asked that Scouts participate in his funeral. About 400 Eagle Scouts were part of the funeral procession, they formed an honor guard as the casket went by in front of the museum, and served as ushers.[9][10]

[edit] Sports

Ford as a University of Michigan football player, 1933
Ford as a University of Michigan football player, 1933

Ford attended Grand Rapids South High School and was a star athlete, rising to become captain of his high school football team. In 1930, he was selected to the All-City team of the Grand Rapids City League. He also attracted the attention of college recruiters.[11]

Attending the University of Michigan as an undergraduate, Ford played center and linebacker for the school’s football team and helped the Wolverines to undefeated seasons and national titles in 1932 and 1933. The team suffered a steep decline in his 1934 senior year, however, winning only one game. Ford was the team’s star nonetheless. During the same season, in a game against the University of Chicago, Ford also “became the only future U. S. president to tackle a future Heisman Trophy winner when he brought down running back Jay Berwanger, who would win the first Heisman the following year.”[12]

During the 1934 championship game, during which Michigan held heavily favored Minnesota (the eventual national champion) to a scoreless tie in the first half, assistant coach Bennie Oosterbaan later said, “When I walked into the dressing room at half time, I had tears in my eyes I was so proud of them. Ford and [Cedric] Sweet played their hearts out. They were everywhere on defense.” Ford himself later recalled, “During 25 years in the rough-and-tumble world of politics, I often thought of the experiences before, during, and after that game in 1934. Remembering them has helped me many times to face a tough situation, take action, and make every effort possible despite adverse odds.” His teammates later voted Ford their most valuable player, with one assistant coach noting, “They felt Jerry was one guy who would stay and fight in a losing cause.”[13]

He was a member of the University of Michigan’s undefeated national championship football team and in 1934 Gerald Ford was selected for the Eastern Team on the Shriner’s East West Crippled Children game at San Francisco (a benefit for crippled children), played on January 1, 1935. Ford once asked to be woken up to find out the score of the Ohio State-Michigan game because he was attending a summit in the Soviet Union.[14] Ohio State won 12-10.[15]

As part of the 1935 Collegiate All-Star football team, Ford played against the Chicago Bears in an exhibition game at Soldier Field.[16] The University of Michigan retired Ford's #48 jersey in 1994.

Despite a proven track record as an athlete during college and continued participation in sports later in life, President Ford was seen by many as clumsy. During a presidential trip to Vienna, he tripped over a step while deplaning Air Force One. This incident and Ford's presumed clumsiness was later repeatedly used by comedian Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live.

At Michigan, Ford became a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and washed dishes at his fraternity house to earn money for college expenses. Following his graduation in 1935 with a degree in political science and economics, he turned down contract offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers of the National Football League in order to take a coaching position at Yale and apply to its law school. Each team was offering him a contract of $200 a game, but he wanted a legal education.[17] Ford continued to contribute to football and boxing, accepting an assistant coaching job for both at Yale in September 1935.[18]

[edit] Law

Ford hoped to attend Yale's law school beginning in 1935 while serving as boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach, but Yale officials initially denied him admission to the law school, because of his full-time coaching responsibilities. He spent the summer of 1937 as a student at the University of Michigan Law School[19] and was eventually admitted in the spring of 1938 to Yale Law School.[20] Ford earned his LL.B. degree in 1941 (later amended to Juris Doctor), graduating in the top 25 percent of his class. His introduction to politics came in the summer of 1940 when he worked in Wendell Willkie's presidential campaign. While attending Yale Law School, he joined a group of students led by R. Douglas Stuart, Jr., and signed a petition to enforce the 1939 Neutrality Act. The petition was circulated nationally and was the inspiration for the America First Committee, a group determined to keep America out of World War II.[21] Ford's position on American involvement in the war would soon change.

Ford graduated from law school in 1941, and was admitted to the Michigan bar shortly thereafter. In May 1941, he opened a Grand Rapids law practice with a friend, Philip Buchen,[18] who would later serve as Ford's White House counsel. But overseas developments caused a change in plans, and Ford responded to the attack on Pearl Harbor by enlisting in the Navy.[22]

[edit] Naval service in World War II

Ford received a commission as ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve on April 13, 1942. On April 20, he reported for active duty to the V-5 instructor school at Annapolis, Maryland. After one month of training, he went to Navy Preflight School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he was one of 83 instructors and taught elementary seamanship, ordnance, gunnery, first aid and military drill. In addition, he coached in all nine sports that were offered, but mostly in swimming, boxing and football. During the one year he was at the Preflight School, he was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade on June 2, 1942, and to Lieutenant in March 1943.

Ford in Navy uniform, 1945
Ford in Navy uniform, 1945

Applying for sea duty, Ford was sent in May 1943 to the pre-commissioning detachment for the new aircraft carrier USS Monterey, at New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey. From the ship's commissioning on June 17, 1943 until the end of December 1944, Ford served as the assistant navigator, Athletic Officer, and antiaircraft battery officer on board the Monterey. While he was on board, the carrier participated in many actions in the Pacific Theater with the Third and Fifth Fleets during the fall of 1943 and in 1944. In 1943, the carrier helped secure Makin Island in the Gilberts, and participated in carrier strikes against Kavieng, New Ireland in 1943. During the spring of 1944, the Monterey supported landings at Kwajalein and Eniwetok and participated in carrier strikes in the Marianas, Western Carolines, and northern New Guinea, as well as in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.[23][24] After overhaul, from September to November 1944, aircraft from the Monterey launched strikes against Wake Island, participated in strikes in the Philippines and Ryukyus, and supported the landings at Leyte and Mindoro.

Although the ship was not damaged by Japanese forces, the Monterey was one of several ships damaged by the typhoon that hit Admiral William Halsey's Third Fleet on December 18-19, 1944. The Third Fleet lost three destroyers and over 800 men during the typhoon. The Monterey was damaged by a fire, which was started by several of the ship's aircraft tearing loose from their cables and colliding during the storm. During the storm, Ford narrowly avoided becoming a casualty himself. After he left his battle station on the bridge of the ship in the early morning of December 18, the ship rolled twenty-five degrees, which caused Ford to lose his footing and slide toward the edge of the deck. The two-inch steel ridge around the edge of the carrier slowed him enough so he could roll, and he twisted into the catwalk below the deck. As he later stated, "I was lucky; I could have easily gone overboard."

After the fire the Monterey was declared unfit for service, and the crippled carrier reached Ulithi on December 21 before proceeding across the Pacific to Bremerton, Washington where it underwent repairs. On December 24, 1944 at Ulithi, Ford was detached from the ship and sent to the Athletic Department of the Navy Pre-Flight School at Saint Mary's College of California, where he was assigned to the Athletic Department until April 1945. One of his duties was to coach football. From the end of April 1945 to January 1946, he was on the staff of the Naval Reserve Training Command, Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois as the Staff Physical and Military Training Officer. On October 3, 1945 he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. In January 1946, he was sent to the Separation Center, Great Lakes to be processed out. He was released from active duty under honorable conditions on February 23, 1946. On June 28, 1946, the Secretary of the Navy accepted Ford's resignation from the Naval Reserve.

For his naval service, Gerald Ford earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with nine engagement stars for operations in the Gilbert Islands, Bismarck Archipelago, Marshall Islands, Asiatic and Pacific carrier raids, Hollandia, Marianas, Western Carolines, Western New Guinea, and the Leyte Operation. He also received the Philippine Liberation Medal with two bronze stars for Leyte and Mindoro, as well as the American Campaign and World War II Victory medals.[22]

[edit] Marriage and children

On October 15, 1948, at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, Ford married Elizabeth Bloomer Warren, a department store fashion consultant. Warren had been a John Robert Powers fashion model and a dancer in the auxiliary troupe of the Martha Graham Dance Company. She had previously been married to and divorced from William G. Warren.

At the time of his engagement, Ford was campaigning for what would be his first of thirteen terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The wedding was delayed until shortly before the elections because, as The New York Times reported in a 1974 profile of Betty Ford, "Jerry was running for Congress and wasn't sure how voters might feel about his marrying a divorced ex-dancer."[25]

The Fords had four children:

[edit] Organizations

Gerald R. Ford was initiated into masonry on September 30, 1949, in Malta Lodge No. 465, Grand Rapids, along with his brothers Thomas Gardner Ford, Richard Addison Ford and James Francis Ford.[26] In 1959, he became a Shriner, joining the Saladin Shrine Temple in Grand Rapids. Three years later Ford was made a Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33°, and Honorary Member, Supreme Council A.A.S.R. Northern Jurisdiction at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, on September 26, 1962, for which he served as Exemplar (Representative) for his class.[26][27]

President Ford's personal opinions about Freemasonry can be found preserved in a speech he gave at the Unveiling Ceremony at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, Alexandria, Virginia, February 17, 1975. "When I took my obligation as a master mason — incidentally, with my three younger brothers — I recalled the value my own father attached to that order. But I had no idea that I would ever be added to the company of the Father of our Country and 12 other members of the order who also served as Presidents of the United States."[28] About one-third of US Presidents have been Masons.

Gerald Ford was also a member of several other civic organizations. These included the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and AMVETS.

[edit] House of Representatives

Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr.

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 5th district
In office
Preceded by Bartel J. Jonkman
Succeeded by Richard VanderVeen

Born July 14, 1913
Omaha, Nebraska
Died December 26, 2006
Rancho Mirage, California
Political party Republican
Spouse Elizabeth Bloomer Warren
Religion Episcopal

Following his return from the war, Ford became active in local Republican politics. Grand Rapids supporters urged him to take on Bartel J. Jonkman, the incumbent Republican congressman. Ford had changed his view of the world as a result of his military service; "I came back a converted internationalist", Ford stated, "and of course our congressman at that time was an avowed, dedicated isolationist. And I thought he ought to be replaced. Nobody thought I could win. I ended up winning two to one."[6] During his first campaign in 1948, Ford visited farmers and promised he would work on their farms and milk the cows if elected—a promise he fulfilled.[29] In 1961, the U.S. House membership voted Ford a special award as a "Congressman's Congressman" that praised his committee work on military budgets.[30]

Ford was a member of the House of Representatives for twenty-four years, holding the Grand Rapids congressional district seat from 1949 to 1973. It was a tenure largely notable for its modesty. As an editorial in The New York Times described him, Ford "saw himself as a negotiator and a reconciler, and the record shows it: he did not write a single piece of major legislation in his entire career."[31]

Ford meets with President Richard Nixon as House Minority Leader
Ford meets with President Richard Nixon as House Minority Leader

Appointed to the House Appropriations Committee two years after being elected, he was a prominent member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Ford described his philosophy as "a moderate in domestic affairs, an internationalist in foreign affairs, and a conservative in fiscal policy."

In 1965, Republican members of the House elected him Minority Leader. During his tenure, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Ford to the Warren Commission, a special task force set up to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In 1997 the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) released a document that revealed that Ford had altered the first draft of the report to read: "A bullet had entered the base of the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine." Ford had elevated the location of the wound from its true location in the back to the neck to support the single bullet theory.[32] The original first draft of the Warren Commission Report stated that a bullet had entered Kennedy's "back at a point slightly above the shoulder and to the right of the spine." Despite its conclusions, the Commission's work continues to be debated in the public arena.

During the eight years (1965–1973) he served as Minority Leader, Ford won many friends in the House because of his fair leadership and inoffensive personality.[30] But President Johnson disliked Ford for the congressman's frequent attacks on the administration's "Great Society" programs as being unneeded or wasteful, and for his criticism of the President's handling of the Vietnam War. As Minority Leader in the House, Ford appeared in a popular series of televised press conferences with famed Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, in which they proposed Republican alternatives to Johnson's policies. Many in the press jokingly called this "The Ev and Jerry Show".[33] Johnson said of Ford at the time, "That Gerald Ford. He can't fart and chew gum at the same time."[34] The press, used to sanitizing LBJ's salty language, reported this as "Gerald Ford can't walk and chew gum at the same time."[35]

In 1970, Ford led the unsuccessful effort to impeach William O. Douglas, an associate justice on the Supreme Court, for "moonlighting" for private clients.[36]

[edit] Vice Presidency, 1973–74

On October 10, 1973, Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned. According to The New York Times, "Nixon sought advice from senior Congressional leaders about a replacement. The advice was unanimous. 'We gave Nixon no choice but Ford,' House Speaker Carl Albert recalled later".[31]

The Fords and the Nixons, following President Nixon's nomination of then-Representative Ford to be Vice President, October 1973
The Fords and the Nixons, following President Nixon's nomination of then-Representative Ford to be Vice President, October 1973

Ford was nominated to take Agnew's position on October 12, the first time the vice-presidential vacancy provision of the 25th Amendment had been implemented. The United States Senate voted 92 to 3 to confirm Ford on November 27, and on December 6, the House confirmed him 387 to 35.

Ford's tenure as Vice President was little noted by the media. Instead, reporters were preoccupied by the continuing revelations about criminal acts during the 1972 presidential election and allegations of cover-ups within the White House. Ford said little about the Watergate scandal, although he privately expressed his personal disappointment in the President's conduct.

Following Ford's appointment, the Watergate investigation continued until Chief of Staff Alexander Haig contacted Ford on August 1, 1974, and told him that "smoking gun" evidence had been found. The evidence left little doubt that President Nixon had been a part of the Watergate cover-up. At the time, Ford and his wife, Betty, were living in suburban Virginia, waiting for their expected move into the newly designated vice president's residence in Washington, D.C. However, "Al Haig [asked] to come over and see me," Ford later related, "to tell me that there would be a new tape released on a Monday, and he said the evidence in there was devastating and there would probably be either an impeachment or a resignation. And he said, 'I'm just warning you that you've got to be prepared, that things might change dramatically and you could become President.' And I said, 'Betty, I don't think we're ever going to live in the vice president's house.'"[6]

[edit] Presidency, 1974–77

[edit] Accession

Gerald Ford is sworn in as the 38th President of the United States by Chief Justice Warren Burger, while Betty Ford looks on
Gerald Ford is sworn in as the 38th President of the United States by Chief Justice Warren Burger, while Betty Ford looks on

When Nixon resigned in the wake of the Watergate scandal on August 9, 1974, Ford assumed the presidency. Immediately after taking the oath of office in the East Room of the White House, he spoke to the assembled audience in a speech broadcast live to the nation. Ford noted the peculiarity of his position: "I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your president with your prayers."[37] On August 20 Ford nominated former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller to fill the vice presidency he had vacated. Rockefeller was confirmed by the House and Senate.[38]

[edit] Nixon pardon

On September 8, 1974, Ford gave Nixon a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes he may have committed against the United States while President.[39][40] In a televised broadcast to the nation, Ford explained that he felt the pardon was in the best interests of the country and that the Nixon family's situation "is an American tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must."[41] At the same time as he announced the Nixon pardon, Ford introduced a conditional amnesty program for Vietnam War draft dodgers who had fled to countries such as Canada.[42] Unconditional amnesty, however, did not come about until the Jimmy Carter Presidency.[43]

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The Nixon pardon was highly controversial. Critics derided the move and claimed a "corrupt bargain" had been struck between the men.[11] They claimed Ford's pardon was quid pro quo in exchange for Nixon's resignation that elevated Ford to the Presidency. Nixon's Chief of Staff, Alexander Haig, did in fact offer a deal to Ford. Bob Woodward, in his book Shadow, recounts that Haig entered Ford's office on August 1, 1974 while Ford was still Vice President and Nixon had yet to resign. Haig told Ford that there were three pardon options: (1) Nixon could pardon himself and resign, (2) Nixon could pardon his aides involved in Watergate and then resign, or (3) Nixon could agree to leave in return for an agreement that the new president would pardon him. After listing these options, Haig handed Ford various papers; one of these papers included a discussion of the president's legal authority to pardon and another sheet was a draft pardon form that only needed Ford's signature and Nixon's name to make it legal. Woodward summarizes the setting between Haig and Ford as follows: "Even if Haig offered no direct words on his views, the message was almost certainly sent. An emotional man, Haig was incapable of concealing his feelings; those who worked closely with him rarely found him ambiguous."

Despite the situation, Ford never accepted the offer from Haig and later decided to pardon Nixon on his own terms. Regardless, historians believe the controversy was one of the major reasons Ford lost the election in 1976, an observation with which Ford concurred.[44] In an editorial at the time, The New York Times stated that the Nixon pardon was "a profoundly unwise, divisive and unjust act" that in a stroke had destroyed the new president's "credibility as a man of judgment, candor and competence."[31]

Ford's first press secretary and close friend Jerald Franklin terHorst resigned his post in protest after the announcement of President Nixon's full pardon. Ford also voluntarily appeared before Congress on October 17, 1974 to give sworn testimony—the only time a sitting president has done so—about the pardon.[18]

After Ford left the White House in 1977, intimates said that the former President privately justified his pardon of Nixon by carrying in his wallet a portion of the text of Burdick v. United States, a 1915 U.S. Supreme Court decision which stated that a pardon indicated a presumption of guilt and that acceptance of a pardon was tantamount to a confession of that guilt.[44] In 1991, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award to Ford for his pardon of Nixon.[45]

[edit] Administration and Cabinet

Upon assuming office, Ford inherited the cabinet Nixon selected during his tenure in office. Over the course of Ford's relatively brief administration, only Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon remained. Ford appointed William Coleman as Secretary of Transportation, the second African American to serve in a presidential cabinet (after Robert Clifton Weaver) and the first appointed in a Republican administration.[46]

The Ford Cabinet
President Gerald Ford 1974–1977
Vice President Nelson Rockefeller 1974–1977
State Henry Kissinger 1974–1977
Treasury William E. Simon 1974–1977
Defense James R. Schlesinger 1974–1975
  Donald Rumsfeld 1975–1977
Justice William Saxbe 1974–1975
  Edward Levi 1975–1977
Interior Rogers Morton 1974–1975
  Stanley K. Hathaway 1975
  Thomas S. Kleppe 1975–1977
Agriculture Earl Butz 1974–1976
  John Albert Knebel 1976–1977
Commerce Frederick B. Dent 1974–1975
  Rogers Morton 1975
  Elliot Richardson 1975–1977
Labor Peter J. Brennan 1974–1975
  John Thomas Dunlop 1975–1976
  William Usery, Jr. 1976–1977
HEW Caspar Weinberger 1974–1975
  F. David Mathews 1975–1977
HUD James Thomas Lynn 1974–1975
  Carla Anderson Hills 1975–1977
Transportation Claude Brinegar 1974–1975
  William Thaddeus Coleman, Jr. 1975–1977

Ford selected George H. W. Bush to be his liaison to the People's Republic of China in 1974 and then Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in late 1975.[47]

Ford's transition chairman and first Chief of Staff was former congressman and ambassador Donald Rumsfeld. In 1975, Rumsfeld was named by Ford as the youngest-ever Secretary of Defense. Ford chose a young Wyoming politician, Richard Cheney, to replace Rumsfeld as his new Chief of Staff and later campaign manager for Ford's 1976 presidential campaign.[48] Ford's dramatic reorganization of his Cabinet in the fall of 1975 has been referred to by political commentators as The "Halloween Massacre."

[edit] Midterm elections

The 1974 Congressional midterm elections took place less than three months after Ford assumed office. Occurring in the wake of the Watergate scandal, the Democratic Party was able to turn voter dissatisfaction into large gains in the House elections, taking 49 seats from the Republican Party, and increasing their majority to 291 of the 435 seats, which was one more than the number needed (290) for a 2/3rds majority, necessary in order to over-ride a Presidential veto (or to submit a Constitutional Amendment). Perhaps due in part to this fact, the 94th Congress overrode the highest percentage of vetoes since Andrew Johnson was President of the United States (1865–1869).[49] Even Ford's old, reliably Republican seat was taken by Democrat Richard VanderVeen. In the Senate elections, the Democratic majority became 60 in the 100-seat body.[50]

[edit] Domestic policy

President Ford meets with his Cabinet in 1975
President Ford meets with his Cabinet in 1975

The economy was a great concern during the Ford administration. In response to rising inflation, Ford went before the American public in October 1974 and asked them to "Whip Inflation Now." As part of this program, he urged people to wear "WIN" buttons.[51] In hindsight, this was viewed as simply a public relations gimmick without offering any effective means of solving the underlying problems.[52] At the time, inflation was approximately seven percent.[53]

The economic focus began to change as the country sank into a mild recession, and in March 1975, Congress passed and Ford signed into law income tax rebates as part of the Tax Reduction Act of 1975 to boost the economy. When New York City faced bankruptcy in 1975, Mayor Abraham Beame was unsuccessful in obtaining Ford's support for a federal bailout. The incident prompted the New York Daily News' notorious headline: "Ford to City: Drop Dead."[54]

Ford was confronted with a potential swine flu pandemic. Sometime in the early 1970s, an influenza strain H1N1 shifted from a form of flu that affected primarily pigs and crossed over to humans. On February 5, 1976, an Army recruit at Fort Dix mysteriously died and four fellow soldiers were hospitalized; health officials announced that "swine flu" was the cause. Soon after, public health officials in the Ford administration urged that every person in the United States be vaccinated.[55] Although the vaccination program was plagued by delays and public relations problems, some 25% of the population was vaccinated by the time the program was canceled. The vaccine was blamed for twenty-five deaths; more people died from the shots than from the swine flu.[56]

Despite his reservations about how this program ultimately would be funded in an era of tight public budgeting, Ford still signed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, which established special education throughout the United States. Ford expressed "strong support for full educational opportunities for our handicapped children" according to the official White House press release for the bill signing.[57]

Ford was an outspoken supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, issuing Presidential Proclamation 4383.

In this Land of the Free, it is right, and by nature it ought to be, that all men and all women are equal before the law.

Now, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States of America, to remind all Americans that it is fitting and just to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment adopted by the Congress of the United States of America, in order to secure legal equality for all women and men, do hereby designate and proclaim August 26, 1975, as Women's Equality Day.[1]

[edit] Foreign policy

South Vietnamese civilians scramble to board a U.S. helicopter during the American evacuation of Saigon
South Vietnamese civilians scramble to board a U.S. helicopter during the American evacuation of Saigon

All American military forces had withdrawn from Vietnam in 1973. As the North Vietnamese invaded and conquered the South in 1975, Ford ordered the final withdrawal of American civilians from Vietnam in 'Operation Frequent Wind', and the subsequent fall of Saigon. On April 29 and the morning of April 30, 1975, the American embassy in Saigon was evacuated amidst a chaotic scene. Some 1,373 U.S. citizens and 5,595 Vietnamese and third country nationals were evacuated by military and Air America helicopters to U.S. Navy ships off-shore.

Ford meets with Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev in Vladivostok, November 1974, to sign a joint communiqué on the SALT treaty
Ford meets with Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev in Vladivostok, November 1974, to sign a joint communiqué on the SALT treaty

Ford continued the détente policy with both the Soviet Union and China, easing the tensions of the Cold War.

Left-wing critics contend that in his meeting with Indonesian president Suharto, Ford gave the green light[58][59] through arms and aid to invade the former Portuguese colony East Timor. Notes from the meeting indicate that Kissinger had insisted on the consent of the population first.

Still in place from the Nixon Administration was the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty.[60][verification needed] The thawing relationship brought about by Nixon's visit to China was reinforced by Ford's December 1975 visit to the communist country.[61] In 1975, the Administration entered into the Helsinki Accords[62] with the Soviet Union, creating the framework of the Helsinki Watch, an independent non-governmental organization created to monitor compliance that later evolved into Human Rights Watch.[63]

Ford also faced a foreign policy crisis with the Mayaguez Incident. In May 1975, shortly after the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia, Cambodians seized the American merchant ship Mayaguez in international waters. Ford dispatched Marines to rescue the crew, but the Marines landed on the wrong island and met unexpectedly stiff resistance just as, unknown to the U.S., the Mayaguez sailors were being released. In the operation, forty-one U.S. servicemen were killed and fifty wounded while approximately sixty Khmer Rouge soldiers were killed.[64]

Ford attended the inaugural meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations (initially the G5) in 1975 and secured membership for Canada. Ford supported international solutions to issues. "We live in an interdependent world and, therefore, must work together to resolve common economic problems," he said in a 1974 speech.[65]

[edit] Assassination attempts

Secret Service rushing Ford to safety after an assassination attempt by Lynette Fromme
Secret Service rushing Ford to safety after an assassination attempt by Lynette Fromme

Ford faced two assassination attempts during his presidency, occurring within three weeks of each other: while in Sacramento, California on September 5, 1975, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a follower of Charles Manson, pointed a Colt 45-caliber handgun at Ford. As Fromme pulled the trigger, Larry Buendorf[66], a Secret Service agent, grabbed the gun and managed to insert the webbing of his thumb under the hammer, preventing the gun from firing. It was later found that, although the gun was loaded with four bullets, it was a semi-automatic pistol and the slide had not been pulled to place a bullet in the firing chamber, making it impossible for the gun to fire. Fromme was taken into custody; she was later convicted of attempted assassination of the President and was sentenced to life in prison.[67]

Seventeen days later, another woman, Sara Jane Moore, also tried to kill Ford while he was visiting San Francisco, but her attempt was thwarted when former marine Oliver Sipple deflected her shot. One person was injured when Moore fired, and she was later sentenced to life in prison.[68][69]

[edit] Supreme Court appointment

In 1975, Ford appointed John Paul Stevens as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States to replace retiring Justice William O. Douglas. Stevens had been a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, appointed by President Nixon.[70] During his tenure as House Republican leader, Ford had led efforts to have Douglas impeached. After being confirmed, Stevens eventually disappointed some conservatives by siding with the Court's liberal wing regarding the outcome of many key issues.[71] Nevertheless, President Ford paid tribute to Stevens. "He has served his nation well," Ford said of Stevens, "with dignity, intellect and without partisan political concerns."[72]

[edit] 1976 presidential election

Ford and his wife, Betty, after his nomination at the 1976 Republican Convention
Ford and his wife, Betty, after his nomination at the 1976 Republican Convention

Ford reluctantly agreed to run for office in 1976, but first he had to counter a challenge for the Republican party nomination. Former Governor of California Ronald Reagan and the party's conservative wing faulted Ford for failing to do more in South Vietnam, for signing the Helsinki Accords and for negotiating to cede the Panama Canal (negotiations for the canal continued under President Carter, who eventually signed the Torrijos-Carter Treaties). Reagan launched his campaign in the autumn of 1975 and won several primaries before withdrawing from the race at the Republican Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. The conservative insurgency convinced Ford to drop the more liberal Vice President Nelson Rockefeller in favor of Kansas Senator Bob Dole.[73]

In addition to the pardon dispute and lingering anti-Republican sentiment, Ford had to counter a plethora of negative media imagery. Chevy Chase often did pratfalls on Saturday Night Live, imitating Ford, who had been seen stumbling on two occasions during his term. As Chase commented, "He even mentioned in his own autobiography it had an effect over a period of time that affected the election to some degree."[74]

President Ford's 1976 election campaign had the advantage that he was an incumbent President during several anniversary events held during the period leading up to the United States Bicentennial. The Washington, D.C. fireworks display on the Fourth of July was presided over by the President and televised nationally.[75] On July 7, 1976, the President and First Lady served as proud hosts at a White House state dinner for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of Great Britain, which was televised on the Public Broadcasting Service network. The 200th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts gave Ford the opportunity to deliver a speech to 110,000 in Concord acknowledging the need for a strong national defense tempered with a plea for "reconciliation, not recrimination" and "reconstruction, not rancor" between the United States and those who would pose "threats to peace."[76] Speaking in New Hampshire on the previous day, Ford condemned the growing trend toward big government bureaucracy and argued for a return to "basic American virtues."[77]

Ford (at right) and Jimmy Carter debate
Ford (at right) and Jimmy Carter debate

Democratic nominee and former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter campaigned as an outsider and reformer; he gained support from voters dismayed by the Watergate scandal. Carter led consistently in the polls, and Ford was never able to shake voter dissatisfaction following Watergate and the Nixon pardon.

Presidential debates were reintroduced for the first time since the 1960 election. While Ford was seen as the winner of the first debate, during the second debate he inexplicably blundered when he stated, "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford Administration." Ford also said that he did not "believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union."[78] In an interview years later, Ford said he had intended to imply that the Soviets would never crush the spirits of eastern Europeans seeking independence. However, the phrasing was so awkward that questioner Max Frankel was visibly incredulous at the response.[79]

In the end, Carter won the election, receiving 50.1% of the popular vote and 297 electoral votes compared with 48.0% and 240 electoral votes for Ford. The election was close enough that had fewer than 25,000 votes shifted in Ohio and Wisconsin – both of which neighbored his home state – Ford would have won the electoral vote.[80] Though he lost, in the three months between the Republican National Convention and the election Ford managed to close what was once a 34-point Carter lead to a 2-point margin. In fact, the Gallup poll the day before the election showed Ford held a statistically insignificant 1-point advantage over Carter.[81]

Had Ford won the election, he would have been disqualified by the 22nd Amendment from running in 1980, since he served more than 2 years of Nixon's term.

[edit] Post-presidential years, 1977–2006

[edit] Activity

The pardon controversy eventually subsided. Ford's successor, Jimmy Carter, opened his 1977 inaugural address by praising the outgoing President, saying "For myself and for our Nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land."[82]

Ford remained relatively active in the years after his presidency and continued to make appearances at events of historical and ceremonial significance to the nation, such as presidential inaugurals and memorial services. In 1977, he reluctantly agreed to be interviewed by James M. Naughton, a New York Times journalist who was given the assignment to write the former President's advance obituary, an article that would be updated prior to its eventual publication.[83]

Left to right: Former Presidents Ford, Richard Nixon, then President George H.W. Bush and former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter at the dedication of the Reagan Presidential Library in 1991
Left to right: Former Presidents Ford, Richard Nixon, then President George H.W. Bush and former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter at the dedication of the Reagan Presidential Library in 1991
Gerald R. FordOfficial White House Portrait by Everett Kinstler
Gerald R. Ford
Official White House Portrait by Everett Kinstler

During the term of office of his successor, Jimmy Carter, Ford received monthly briefs by President Carter’s senior staff on international and domestic issues, and was always invited to lunch at the White House whenever he was in Washington, D.C. However, a close friendship with Carter developed only after Carter had left office, with the catalyst being their trip together to the funeral of Anwar el-Sadat in 1981.[84] Until Ford's death, Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, visited the Fords' home frequently.[85] In 2001, Ford and Carter served as honorary co-chairs of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform.

Like Presidents Carter, Bush Senior and Clinton, Ford was an honorary co-chair of the Council for Excellence in Government, a group dedicated to excellence in government performance and which provides leadership training to top federal employees.

After securing the Republican nomination in 1980, Ronald Reagan gave serious consideration to his former rival Ford as a potential vice-presidential running mate. But negotiations between the Reagan and Ford camps at the Republican National Convention in Detroit were unsuccessful. Ford conditioned his acceptance on Reagan's agreement to an unprecedented "co-presidency",[86] giving Ford the power to control key executive branch appointments (such as Henry Kissinger as Secretary of State and Alan Greenspan as Treasury Secretary). After rejecting these terms, Reagan offered the vice-presidential nomination instead to George H. W. Bush.[87]

In 1977, he established the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at Albion College in Albion, Michigan. This institute is designed to give undergraduates training in public policy. In 1981, he opened the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, and the Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan.[88] In 1999, Ford was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bill Clinton.[89] In 2001, he was presented with the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award for his decision to pardon Richard Nixon to stop the agony America was experiencing over Watergate.[90] In retirement Ford also devoted much time to his love of golf, often playing both privately and in public events with comedian Bob Hope, a longtime friend. Wa

Ford at his 90th birthday party at the White House in 2003
Ford at his 90th birthday party at the White House in 2003

On 29 October 2001, in an article by Deb Price, a columnist with the Detroit News, Ford broke with conservative members of the Republican party by stating that gay and lesbian couples "ought to be treated equally. Period." He became the highest ranking Republican to embrace full equality for gays and lesbians, stating his belief that there should be a federal amendment outlawing anti-gay job discrimination and expressed his hope that the Republican Party would reach out to gay and lesbian voters.[91] He also was a member of the Republican Unity Coalition, which The New York Times described as "a group of prominent Republicans, including former President Gerald R. Ford, dedicated to making sexual orientation a nonissue in the Republican Party."[92]

On November 22, 2004, New York Republican Governor George Pataki named Ford and the other living former Presidents (Carter, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton) as honorary members of the board rebuilding the World Trade Center.

In a prerecorded embargoed interview with Bob Woodward of The Washington Post in July 2004, Ford stated that he disagreed "very strongly" with the Bush administration's choice of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction as justification for its decision to invade Iraq, calling it a "big mistake" unrelated to the national security of the United States and indicating that he would not have gone to war had he been President. The details of the interview were not released until after Ford's death, as he requested.[93][94]

[edit] Health problems

As Ford approached his ninetieth year, he began to experience significant health problems associated with old age. He suffered two minor strokes at the 2000 Republican National Convention, but made a quick recovery.[95] In January 2006, he spent 11 days at the Eisenhower Medical Center near his residence at Rancho Mirage, California, for treatment of pneumonia.[96] On April 23, President George W. Bush visited Ford at his home in Rancho Mirage for a little over an hour. This was Ford's last public appearance and produced the last known public photos, video footage and voice recording. While vacationing in Vail, Colorado, he was hospitalized for two days in July, 2006 for shortness of breath.[97] On August 15 Ford was admitted to St. Mary's Hospital of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for testing and evaluation. On August 21, it was reported that he had been fitted with a pacemaker. On August 25, he underwent an angioplasty procedure at the Mayo Clinic, according to a statement from an assistant to Ford. On August 28, Ford was released from the hospital and returned with his wife Betty to their California home. On October 13, he was scheduled to attend the dedication of a building of his namesake, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, but due to poor health and on the advice of his doctors he did not attend, much to his personal disappointment. The previous day, on October 12, however, Ford entered the hospital yet again for undisclosed tests at the Eisenhower Medical Center;[98] he was released on October 16. As a result of his frail health it was announced on October 17 that Ford was considering selling his home near Vail due to the uncertainty as to whether he would be able to return. Those that saw him during the last five months of his life said that he looked frailer than ever and that it appeared his body was slowly failing him, and by November 2006 he was confined to a hospital bed in his study.[citation needed] On November 12, 2006 upon surpassing Ronald Reagan to become the longest lived president in US history he released his last public statement:

The length of one’s days matters less than the love of one’s family and friends. I thank God for the gift of every sunrise and, even more, for all the years He has blessed me with Betty and the children; with our extended family and the friends of a lifetime. That includes countless Americans who, in recent months, have remembered me in their prayers. Your kindness touches me deeply. May God bless you all and may God bless America.
— Gerald Ford,
Final Public Statement

[edit] Longevity

President George W. Bush with former President Ford and his wife Betty on April 23, 2006; this is the last known public photo of Gerald Ford
President George W. Bush with former President Ford and his wife Betty on April 23, 2006; this is the last known public photo of Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford in The Simpsons
Gerald Ford in The Simpsons
  • Gerald and Betty Ford are currently the second longest-lived first couple (combining their ages) at ages 93 and 88, respectively. Harry and Bess Truman hold the record at 88 and 97, respectively.
  • Ford is one of only four former Presidents to live to 90 or more years of age. The others are Ronald Reagan (93), John Adams (90) and Herbert Hoover (90).

[edit] Death

Ford died at the age of 93 years and 165 days on December 26, 2006 at 6:45 p.m Pacific Standard Time (02:45, December 27, UTC) at his home in Rancho Mirage, California.[101] No cause of death was released officially, and details of his final days were kept mostly private.

Ford is honored during a memorial service in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., Dec. 30, 2006.
Ford is honored during a memorial service in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., Dec. 30, 2006.

On December 16, the Reverend Robert Certain of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church went to the Ford home and performed a communion service. The former president, though too weak to stand, was alert and participated in the brief rite, which included a formal prayer for the sick. With their father's health failing, all four of Gerald and Betty Ford's children made a pilgrimage to their parents' home shortly before Christmas to say goodbye. Mrs. Ford and their three sons, who had celebrated Christmas the day before at home, were at Ford's bedside when he died. The couple's daughter, Susan, had returned to Albuquerque, New Mexico, the day before Christmas to spend the holiday with her family. No local clergy were present, but Ford's eldest son, Michael, is an Evangelical minister and performed last rites.[102]

President Ford's tomb at his Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan
President Ford's tomb at his Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan

At 8:49 p.m., Ford's wife, Betty, issued a statement that confirmed his death:[103] "My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, has passed away at 93 years of age. His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country."[104] The statement was released from the Eisenhower Medical Center, where Gerald Ford's body had been taken and remained until the start of the funeral services on December 29, 2006.

On December 30, 2006 Ford became the 11th U.S. President to lie in state. The burial was preceded by a state funeral and memorial services held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on January 2, 2007. Ford was eulogized by former President George H.W. Bush, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former NBC Nightly News anchorman Tom Brokaw and current President George W. Bush. On December 28, 2006, the New York Times reported that, at Ford's request, former President Jimmy Carter would deliver a eulogy. Decades ago, "Mr. Ford asked whether his successor might consider speaking at his funeral and offered, lightheartedly, to do the same for Mr. Carter, depending on who died first".[105] Carter did not actually speak at the state funeral, though he did speak at the funeral service at Grace Episcopal Church in East Grand Rapids on January 3, 2007. He was also eulogized by Donald Rumsfeld, who was Ford's Chief of Staff, and Richard Norton Smith, Presidential historian. The invitation-only list of attendees included Vice President Dick Cheney, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and U.S. Senators from Michigan Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow. After the service, Ford was interred at his Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

Ford and his golden retriever Liberty in the Oval Office, 1974
Ford and his golden retriever Liberty in the Oval Office, 1974
  1. ^ a b Nebraska - Born, Ford Left State As Infant. Associated Press. New York Times (2006). Retrieved on December 28, 2006.
  2. ^ Cannon, James. Gerald R. Ford. Character Above All. Public Broadcasting System. Retrieved on December 28, 2006.
  3. ^ A Lifetime of Achievement. Retrieved on December 28, 2006.
  4. ^ Gerald R. Ford Genealogical Information. Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum. University of Texas. Retrieved on December 28, 2006.
  5. ^ "A Common Man on an Uncommon Climb", The New York Times, 1976-08-19, p. 28.
  6. ^ a b c Gerald Rudolph Ford. Retrieved on December 28, 2006.
  7. ^ Gerald R. Ford. Report to the Nation. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved on December 28, 2006.
  8. ^ Townley, Alvin [2006-12-26]. Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts. New York: St. Martin's Press, pp. 12-13 and 87. ISBN 0-312-36653-1. Retrieved on December 29, 2006. 
  9. ^ Balloch, Jim (2007-01-04). Knox Eagle Scout has role in Ford funeral. KnoxNews. Retrieved on January 17, 2007.
  10. ^ Ray, Mark (2007). Eagle Scout Welcome Gerald Ford Home. Scouting Magazine. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved on March 5, 2007.
  11. ^ a b Kunhardt, Jr., Phillip [1999]. Gerald R. Ford "Healing the Nation". New York: Riverhead Books, pp. 79-85. Retrieved on December 28, 2006. 
  12. ^ "Ford one of most athletic Presidents", Associated Press via Sports Illustrated, 2006-12-27. Retrieved on December 31, 2006.
  13. ^ Perry, Will [1974]. "No Cheers From the Alumni", The Wolverines: A Story of Michigan Football. Huntsville, Alabama: The Strode Publishers, pp. 150-152. ISBN 0-87397-055-1. Retrieved on December 28, 2006. 
  14. ^ Larcom, Geoff. Colleagues mourn a 'Michigan man'. The Ann Arbor News. Retrieved on January 24, 2007.
  15. ^ Axworthy, Thomas S.. Ohio State vs. Michigan: college football’s best rivalry. Buckeye Buzz. Newspaper Network of Central Ohio. Retrieved on January 24, 2007.
  16. ^ Greene, J.R. [1995]. The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford (American Presidency Series), p. 2. Retrieved on December 28, 2006. 
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  52. ^ WIN buttons and Arthur Burns. Econbrowser (2006). Retrieved on January 24, 2007.
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  58. ^ Hitchens, Christopher. "The Accidental President Gerald Ford: 1913-2006", The Mirror, December 28, 2006, p. 17. Retrieved on January 1, 2007.
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  85. ^ Updegrove, Mark K. “Flying Coach to Cairo”. (August/September 2006). Retrieved on December 31, 2006. "Certainly few observers in January 1977 would have predicted that Jimmy and I would become the closest of friends," Ford said in 2000
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  105. ^ Kornblut, Anne E.. "Ford Arranged His Funeral to Reflect Himself and Drew In a Former Adversary", The New York Times, December 28, 2006, pp. A21. Retrieved on January 4, 2007.

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] Primary sources

  • Ford, Gerald R. (1994). Presidential Perspectives from the National Archives. ISBN 1-880875-04-7. 
  • Ford, Gerald R. (1987). Humor and the Presidency. ISBN 0-87795-918-8. 
  • Ford, Gerald R. (1979). A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford. ISBN 0-06-011297-2. 
  • Ford, Gerald R. (1973). Selected Speeches. ISBN 0-87948-029-7. 
  • Ford, Gerald R. (1965). Portrait of the assassin (Lee Harvey Oswald). ASIN B0006BMZM4. 
  • Ford, Betty (1978). The Times of My Life. ISBN 0-06-011298-0. 
  • Casserly, John J. (1977). The Ford White House: Diary of a Speechwriter. ISBN 0-87081-106-1. 
  • Coyne, John R. (1979). Fall in and Cheer. ISBN 0-385-11119-3. 
  • Gergen, David. Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership. 2000, by speechwriter
  • Hartmann, Robert T. (1980). Palace Politics: An Insider's Account of the Ford Years. ISBN 0-07-026951-3. , by chief of staff
  • Hersey, John (1980). Aspects of the Presidency: Truman and Ford in Office (The President: A Minute-by-Minute Account of a Week in the Life of Gerald Ford). ISBN 0-89919-012-X. 
  • Kissinger, Henry A. (1999). Years of Renewal. ISBN 0-684-85572-0.  by Secretary of State
  • Thompson, Kenneth (ed.) (1980). The Ford Presidency: Twenty-Two Intimate Perspectives of Gerald Ford. ISBN 0-8191-6960-9. 

[edit] Secondary Sources

  • Cannon, James (1993). Time and Chance: Gerald R. Ford's Appointment with History. ISBN 0-472-08482-8.  full-scale biography
  • Conley, Richard S. "Presidential Influence and Minority Party Liaison on Veto Overrides: New Evidence from the Ford Presidency." American Politics Research 2002 30(1): 34-65. Issn: 1532-673x Fulltext: in Swetswise
  • Firestone, Bernard J. and Alexej Ugrinsky (eds) (1992). Gerald R. Ford and the Politics of Post-Watergate America. ISBN 0-313-28009-6. 
  • Greene, John Robert (1992). The Limits of Power: The Nixon and Ford Administrations. ISBN 0-253-32637-0. 
  • Greene, John Robert (1995). The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford. ISBN 0-7006-0639-4. , the major scholarly study
  • Hult, Karen M. and Walcott, Charles E. Empowering the White House: Governance under Nixon, Ford, and Carter. U. Press of Kansas, 2004.
  • Jespersen, T. Christopher. "Kissinger, Ford, and Congress: the Very Bitter End in Vietnam." Pacific Historical Review 2002 71(3): 439-473. Issn: 0030-8684 Fulltext: in University of California; Swetswise; Jstor and Ebsco
  • Jespersen, T. Christopher. "The Bitter End and the Lost Chance in Vietnam: Congress, the Ford Administration, and the Battle over Vietnam, 1975-76." Diplomatic History 2000 24(2): 265-293. Issn: 0145-2096 Fulltext: in Swetswise, Ingenta, Ebsco
  • Maynard, Christopher A. "Manufacturing Voter Confidence: a Video Analysis of the American 1976 Presidential and Vice-presidential Debates." Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 1997 17(4): 523-562. Issn: 0143-9685 Fulltext: in Ingenta
  • Mieczkowski, Yanek (2005). Gerald Ford And The Challenges Of The 1970s. ISBN 0-8131-2349-6. 
  • Werth, Barry (2006). 31 Days: The Crisis That Gave Us the Government We Have Today. ISBN 0-385-51380-1. 

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Preceded by
Bartel J. Jonkman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Richard F. Vander Veen
Preceded by
Charles Hoeven
House Republican Conference Chairman
Succeeded by
Melvin Laird
Preceded by
Charles A. Halleck
House Minority Leader
Succeeded by
John Jacob Rhodes
Preceded by
Spiro Agnew
Vice President of the United States
December 6, 1973August 9, 1974
Succeeded by
Nelson Rockefeller
Preceded by
James Eastland
President of the United States Senate
December 6, 1973August 9, 1974
Succeeded by
James Eastland
Preceded by
Richard Nixon
President of the United States
August 9, 1974January 20, 1977
Succeeded by
Jimmy Carter
Republican Party Presidential nominee
1976 (lost)
Succeeded by
Ronald Reagan
Preceded by
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Chair of the G8
Succeeded by
James Callaghan
Preceded by
Ronald Reagan
Oldest U.S. President still living
June 5, 2004December 26, 2006
Succeeded by
George H. W. Bush

NAME Ford, Gerald Rudolph
SHORT DESCRIPTION 38th President of the United States
DATE OF BIRTH July 14, 1913
PLACE OF BIRTH Omaha, Nebraska, United States
DATE OF DEATH December 26, 2006
PLACE OF DEATH Rancho Mirage, California, United States