FORD PHOTO INDEX: TWO BLACK AND WHITES OF FORD DURING HIS ADMINISTRATION AND A COLLAGE OF HIS TENURE IN OFFICE. THE PICTURES WERE AS LISTED IN ORDER:
1. Soldier in Vietnam, Dirck Halstead, 1975.
2. Ford in Japan posing with a Geisha, David Hume Kennerly, 1975.
3. Barbara Jordan, Cactus Yearbook.
4. 1976 Bicentennial logo, Cactus Yearbook.
5. John Wayne and Gerald Ford in a campaign parade, Wally McNamee, 1976.
6. President Ford and his family, David Hume Kennerly, 1974.
7. President Ford conceding to Jimmy Carter, Dirck Halstead, 1976.
8. Ford/Dole campaign button, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Austin, Texas.
9. Barry Manilow performing at UT, Cactus Yearbook.
10. Ford 1976 campaign sign, Cactus Yearbook.
11. Alex Haley signing his book at UT, Cactus Yearbook.
PRESIDENT FORD DEAD AT 93
Gerald Ford died last evening at the age of 93. To me, his passing brought back many memories of that era. A college student at King's during that time, I remember when Ford was picked as President Nixon's Vice President to replace Spiro Agnew. Nixon, then under fire for Watergate wanted to pick a safe candidate that would get through the Democratic House of Representatives and the Senate. Ronald Reagan was too far to the right, Nelson Rockefeller too far to the left. Other consensus candidates were named, most notabely Pennsylvanians William Warren Scranton, a former Governor and Senator Hugh B. Scott, then the Senate Minority Leader. I remember reading a Newsweek article where Nixon derided Ford's credentials by smirking and saying, "Imagine Gerry Ford sitting in this chair". At the time, Ford had served 13 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, roughly the same amount of time that our local Congressman Dan Flood served. Local party wags said, "Imagine Dan Flood becoming President". Ford was thought of as a benign, caretaker Vice President who would hold the party base together while Nixon tried to ride out his term. That was not to be. With the release of the Watergate tapes and the new developments regarding the Nixon administration, Ford assumed office on August 9th, 1974.
He pardoned President Nixon which I thought was the right thing to do at the time. Rock ribbed Republicans however believed it ws the wrong thing to do. People in the local GOP came out for the Ford/Dole ticket but there were GOPers I knew who voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976. That election was razor thin and Ford lost by only a few electoral votes.
In later years, I followed Ford's progress, bought a few biographies of him and enjoyed his moderate stances on the issues. Locally, Ford came in to Wilkes Barre to campaign for Marc Holtzman in that famous 1986 Congressional race.
In the late 90s, Ford recieved the John F. Kennedy Profile In Courage Award for his pardon of President Nixon. The foundation felt it was an act of political courage that most likely cost him his Presidency. He was a man of action and principle.
We have a few more articles on the unique side of the life of President Ford.
ELECTION OF 1976
The U.S. presidential election of 1976 followed the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal. It pitted incumbent President Gerald Ford against the relatively unknown former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter. Ford was saddled with a slow economy and paid a political price for his pardon of Nixon. Carter ran as an outsider and a reformer and won.
THE DEMOCRATIC FIELD IN 76
Democratic Party nomination
Birch Bayh, U.S senator from Indiana
Lloyd Bentsen, U.S. senator from Texas
Jerry Brown, governor of California
Robert Byrd, U.S. senator from West Virginia ("favorite son" candidate)
Jimmy Carter, former governor of Georgia
Frank Church, U.S. senator from Idaho
Fred R. Harris, former U.S. senator from Oklahoma, former candidate for the 1972 nomination, and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee
Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson, U.S. senator from Washington, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and former candidate for the 1972 nomination
Terry Sanford, former governor of North Carolina
Milton Shapp, governor of Pennsylvania
Sargent Shriver, former ambassador to France, first director of the Peace Corps and the Office of Economic Opportunity, and 1972 vice-presidential nominee
Adlai Stevenson III, U.S. senator from Illinois ("favorite son" candidate)
Morris "Mo" Udall, U.S. representative from Arizona
George Wallace, governor of Alabama, former candidate for the 1972 nomination, and 1968 American Independent Party presidential nominee
During a primary season with a long list of candidates, Carter rose from being unknown nationally to become the front-runner. Starting in the first nationally prominent Iowa caucuses, where he came in second to "uncommitted", he quickly won the New Hampshire Primary and every primary then on except Massachusetts, which was won by Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson. By the time of the Nebraska primary, won by Frank Church, Church and Jerry Brown began to gain momentum during the later primaries as leaders of the "ABC" (anybody but Carter) movement. But Carter's nomination became a fait accompli by the time of the 1976 Democratic National Convention.
The tally at the convention was:
Jimmy Carter 2278
Morris "Mo" Udall 329
Jerry Brown 300
George Wallace, 57
Mrs. Ellen McCormack, a housewife 22
Frank Church, 19
Hubert H. Humphrey 10
Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson, 10
Fred R. Harris 9
Milton Shapp 2
Robert Byrd, Cesar Chavez, Edward M. Kennedy, Barbara Jordan, and Jennings Randolph of West Virginia, 1 vote each.
The vice presidential tally, in part, was:
Walter F. Mondale 2837
House Speaker Carl Albert 36
Ronald Dellums 20
Fritz Efaw 12
Barbara Jordan 17
THE REPUBLICAN FIELD IN '76
Gerald Ford, incumbent President of the United States
Ronald Reagan, former governor from California
Incumbent President Ford, appointed to the vice-presidency after the resignation of Spiro Agnew and then elevated to the presidency by the resignation of Richard Nixon, was the only U.S. president never to have been elected president or vice president. His policy goals were frustrated by Congress, heavily Democratic after the 1974 mid-term election and infuriated by his decision to pardon Nixon for any criminal acts he committed or may have committed as part of the Watergate scandal.
Reagan and the conservative wing of the Republican Party faulted Ford for failing to do more to assist South Vietnam (which finally collapsed in April 1975 with the fall of Saigon) and for his signing of the Helsinki Accords, which they took as implicit acceptance of Soviet domination over Eastern Europe. Conservatives were also infuriated by Ford's negotiations with Panama to hand over the Panama Canal.
Reagan began to openly criticize Ford starting in the summer of 1975, and formally launched his campaign in the autumn. Although Ford narrowly won the New Hampshire primary, Reagan won primaries across the nation, resulting in the closest primary season in American history. Reagan, who was unable to gain a majority of superdelegate votes or overcome fears that he was too inexperienced and too conservative, withdrew from the race at the end of the Republican Convention in Kansas City, but was permitted to address the delegates—virtually overshadowing Ford's own speech—and convinced Ford to drop Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, who was seen as too liberal, in favor of Senator Bob Dole of Kansas. But part of this decision had already been made in 1975, by Rockefeller himself, who said he would not run for vice-president with Ford in 1976.
Won by Ford
fifteen states, including:
Won by Reagan
Twelve states, including:
President Ford 1187
Ronald Reagan 1070
Elliot L. Richardson 1
President Ford chose Senator Robert J. Dole of Kansas as his running mate, the vice presidential tally, in part, was:
Bob Dole 1921
Jesse Helms of North Carolina 103
General election Campaign
Ford and Carter in debate
Jimmy Carter ran as an honest outsider and reformer, which many voters found attractive in the wake of the Watergate Scandal. President Ford, although personally unconnected with Watergate, was seen by many as too close to the discredited Richard Nixon administration, especially after Ford granted Nixon a presidential pardon.
When Carter left the Democratic National Convention, he held a thirty point lead on Ford. However, as the campaign continued, the race tightened. In late September and early October, Ford made a dramatic surge in the polls, almost eliminating Carter's lead. This surge is usually credited to a few events of that time. First, Carter promised a "blanket pardon" to Vietnam draft dodgers in a speech before the American Legion. Next, Playboy magazine published a controversial interview with Carter in which Carter admitted to having "lusted in his heart" for women other than his wife, which cut into his support among women and evangelicals. Finally, on September 24, Ford performed well in what was the first presidential debate since 1960.
There was a second debate on October 7. Whilst discussing the Helsinki Accords, Ford stumbled when he stated that "there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration." He added that he did not "believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union", and made the same claim with regards to Yugoslavia and Romania.  Ford compounded his error by refusing to retract his statement for almost a week after the debate; conservatives who had been lukewarm to Ford's candidacy were particularly appalled. As a result of this blunder, Ford's surge stalled and Carter reopened his lead in the polls. On November 2, Carter narrowly won the election.
A vice presidential debate between Robert Dole and Walter Mondale also hurt the Republican ticket when Dole asserted that military unpreparedness on the part of Democratic presidents was responsible for all of the wars the U.S. had fought in the twentieth century up to that point. Dole, a World War II veteran, noted that a Democrat was President when the United States entered a conflict from World War I to the Vietnam War, and he added that the number of U.S. casualties in "Democrat wars" was roughly equal to the population of Detroit. The remark cemented Dole's reputation as a mean politician.
Carter was the first Democrat since John F. Kennedy in 1960 to carry the states of the Deep South, and the first since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 to carry an unquestionable majority of southern states; in fact, he carried all but Virginia. It would be sixteen more years before any Southern state endorsed a Democrat for president, when Bill Clinton, himself from the south, ran for president in 1992 (although Carter carried his home state of Georgia in his unsuccessful bid for re-election in 1980).
Had Ford won the election, the provisions of the 22nd amendment would have disqualified him from running in 1980, because he had served more than two years of Nixon's remaining term.
The 1976 election was the last time that a Democrat managed to obtain more than 50% of the popular vote in a Presidential Election. It was only the second time since 1944 that this had happened.
James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr.
Walter Frederick Mondale
Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr.
Robert Joseph Dole
THE REAL STORY
OF REAGAN/FORD '80
In Detroit, the story was less than met the camera's eye
"Gerald Ford will be his selection as his vice-presidential running mate ... They are going to come to this convention hall tonight to appear together on this platform ... to announce that Ford will run with him."
And that's the way it was, according to Walter Cronkite. At least that's the way it was at 10:10 Wednesday night. Within 15 minutes, CBS floor correspondents began hearing that the deal was coming unstuck. At 11:54 Dan Rather's worried voice crackled across the network's internal radio system. "Tell the anchor booth to be very careful," he said urgently. "There's something very strange going on here."
Indeed there was. At that very moment, NBC Correspondent Chris Wallace was walking between the New York and Pennsylvania delegations. He recalled afterward: "One of Reagan's regional political directors came careening down the aisle, ashen-faced, shouting, 'It's Bush! It's Bush!'" Wallace turned to a second source for confirmation and put the story on the air without waiting for a camera.
One of the most frenzied nights in the history of television news had come to a curious climax. In the end, the journalists emerged intact, reporting as fast and accurately as they could under the circumstances. Said NBC's Wallace, 32, son of CBS's Mike: "It was one of the most remarkable moments of my life." Almost forgotten in the euphoria was the fact that the networks had been dead wrong about Ronald Reagan's ticket mate for hours—and that they were not alone.
Thirty-two years after the Chicago Tribune ran its infamous headline proclaiming Thomas E. Dewey the presidential winner over Harry Truman, an early edition of the rival Sun-Times blared: IT'S REAGAN AND FORD. Both the Associated Press and United Press International swallowed the Ford story—and swallowed their pride later in the night with corrected versions. Eastern radio and television stations using the wire-service reports on their 11 o'clock newscasts got burned. So did the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer and the Shreveport (La.) Times, all of which had a Reagan-Ford ticket for part of their press runs.
The possibility that Ford would join the ticket gained momentum Wednesday morning after Rather reported on CBS radio that Reagan had "indicated to some leading powers in his party that his preference" was the former President. Reports of meetings between Ford and Reagan were aired on the evening news shows. At 7 p.m. Rather went on TV live with the strongest story up to then, saying that Reagan was not going to consider anybody else "until he gets a final, unequivocal, new no from Ford." Rather took pains to note that his sources did not think Ford would accept.
As Rather finished his report, Ford walked into the CBS anchor booth for a previously scheduled interview with Cronkite. It turned out to be a remarkable conversation, somewhat reminiscent of Cronkite's electronic diplomacy in 1977 bringing together Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Ford opened the possibility of returning to Washington if he had "a meaningful role across the board." He added, "Before I can even consider any revision in the firm position I have taken, I have to have responsible assurances."
Barbara Walters of ABC rushed to the CBS booth to line up Ford for an interview of her own. Rumors raced through the hall fueled by television reports, which were in turn fueled by the rumors on the floor. Three politicians and two journalists told Reagan's floor whip, Congressman Robert Michel, that the presidential nominee was about to arrive with Ford. "Where did you hear that?" Michel demanded. Someone replied that Dan Rather had reported it. Michel tried to call the Reagan suite and G.O.P. Chairman Bill Brock, but could not reach either. Then he ran smack into Rather, who immediately phoned his producers to report that Michel was trying to set up a meeting with Brock. Said Bill Kovach, Washington editor of the New York Times: "It was a hall of mirrors out there."
When the rumors cleared, many print journalists suggested that the networks had been reckless—and some network executives were inclined to agree. Said Roone Arledge, president of ABC News: "A lot of information was being passed on by questionable sources." But Cronkite thought otherwise: "The Reagan people got too far out on a limb. They passed the word in the hall that the deal was set. If we were out on a limb at all, it was by taking that at face value."
Well, maybe. But more cautious reporters would have avoided that limb by checking their facts a bit harder before going public. Network reporters who did seek confirmation of the rumors seemed not to hear when their interview subjects expressed doubts. In the end, it was NBC, which got scooped on the Ford boomlet, that had to backtrack least. David Brinkley congratulated his floor correspondents at the evening's end: "I think you were alone, alone in not being taken in."
The press could not blame its errors Wednesday on lack of manpower. Upwards of 12,000 newspaper, magazine, radio and television people were in Detroit to watch 1,994 delegates ratify Reagan's nomination. The networks together spent some $30 million to send nearly 2,000 staffers, along with more than 500 tons of office and technical equipment, 90-plus cameras and hundreds of miles of cable. A.P. and U.P.I, each had more than 150 people on hand, and major dailies such as the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post had more than 30. NBC News President William Small reviewed his 600-member team at a "pep rally" before the opening gavel and quipped, "If King George had an army this large, we'd all be working for the BBC."
Many of these people went to Detroit out of nostalgia for the days when, as H.L. Mencken put it, conventions were "as fascinating as a revival or a hanging." Nowadays the party gatherings are tightly managed and have about as much suspense as an Elks lodge meeting. But they remain a rite of passage for younger journalists and a reunion for battle-scarred veterans of the campaign trail. Said Wally Pfister, a former ABC producer who is now a broadcast consultant to the G.O.P.: "Everybody gripes about what a dull convention it is and how there are too many people out here to cover it. But if they were left at home, they'd jump out the window."
Those who thought most seriously of jumping worked for the home-town Free Press (circ. 602,000), which had its ambitious convention coverage plans dashed when delivery-truck drivers went on strike two days before the opening gavel. The paper had prepared a special section on the convention and was hankering to go head to head with the afternoon Detroit News (circ. 631,000) in front of the national press. Said Executive Editor David Lawrence Jr.: "We're numb."
With little to chase except their own tails, the assembled newshounds churned out a stream of obvious stories about vice-presidential possibilities, Reagan's family, the mood of the Republican Party and the state of Detroit's renaissance. Boston Globe Columnist Mike Barnicle interviewed some hookers and members of the Black Dragon Motorcycle Club. Said he: "I'm writing about anything but politics. I mean, when you put something in the paper, you want people to read it, right?"
The journalists also turned on one another like a bunch of hungry cannibals. A report that Dan Rather was staying in a "six-bedroom English Tudor mansion with a heated pool, a cook, a gardener, a maid and nearby tennis courts" at $7,000 a week was picked up by other news organizations. Rather was livid: "It's not a mansion; it's a house. There's no garden and no cook." He said he was sharing it with another CBS staffer, and the network produced a lease showing that it cost a mere $6,500 for two weeks.
Many of the television luminaries in Detroit were better known than the people they were covering. Rather and NBC's Tom Brokaw were besieged by gawkers and autograph seekers everywhere they went—even on the convention floor, where Brokaw cut a dashing figure in gray-and-blue running shoes. Carol Wallace of the New York Daily News polled the rubberneckers in the lobby of the Detroit Plaza Hotel and found that Cronkite was the main attraction, ahead of Ford, Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor and Wayne Newton. Even so, visiting reporters felt vaguely silly interviewing one another. Cracked 60 Minutes Executive Producer Don Hewitt, chief floor producer for CBS in Detroit: "There's only one thing dumber than us being here. And that's you being here writing about us being here."
One of the genuinely new press stories at this convention was the fact that local TV stations were sending their own people rather than relying on the networks' phalanxes. Only a handful of local stations covered past conventions. This year more than 150 made the trip. The new, lightweight minicams have made it technologically easier for the locals to come, and the brass-knuckle competition among stations has made it imperative. Said Pfister: "News has become such a big profit center that they're willing to spend a lot to keep their ratings up."
As they looked for news, all three networks padded their coverage with pretaped features and with live wisdom from special commentators. Bill Moyers, Jeff Greenfield and James Kilpatrick had a sparkling chemistry on CBS, and Syndicated Columnist George Will, one of four print people signed by ABC, is worth listening to any time. On NBC's morning Today show, Syndicated Columnist David Broder Sand the Washington Star's Jack Germond provided their usual informed analysis, but the ballyhooed commentary by Independent Presidential Candidate John Anderson was tepid.
ABC, which had abandoned gavel-to-gavel coverage in 1976, returned to the fold this time. But the paucity of real news in Detroit raised questions about whether conventions should be covered so exhaustively. Fewer than half the homes watching TV last week were tuned to the convention; the top audience was Wednesday, when 54% were watching. Asked about this, network executives trot out Cronkite's dictum that the quadrennial spectacle is an important "civics lesson." Arledge of ABC, however, sees an end to the full nightly coverage. "It doesn't make any sense," he said. "It just shows how we can flex our muscles by putting our cameras in front of everything that moves."
What bothered some viewers was the capriciousness of the networks' intrusions on the convention. Frequently, they interrupted speeches in mid-sentence for floor commentaries that were no less boring—or for commercials. "Everybody under stands the need for commercials," said Columnist William F. Buckley. "I mind much less yielding to Wheaties than I mind yielding to pundits."
There was much grousing about overkill last week, but as CBS'S Hewitt pointed out, "I don't think I've been to a political convention when we all didn't say we were never going to another one." The Democratic ses sion in New York City next month has special significance: sit will mark the end of Walter E Cronkite's 28-year stint as the 5 CBS convention anchorman. "I think we'll know in a week or ten days how that one's going to shape up," said Cronkite eagerly. "We could have a beauty there."
ON SAME DAY
President Harry Truman died on the same day as President Ford, December 26th. Truman died in 1972.
As of November 12, 2006, Gerald Ford is the oldest President of all time, surpassing Ronald Reagan.
Gerald: Truth is the glue that holds government together. Compromise is the oil that makes governments go.
From 1974 to 1977, his Secretary of State was Henry Kissinger.
He threw out the first pitch in the 1976 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
In 1976 he was the Chair of the Group of Eight (G8), which was held in San Juan, Puerto Rica.
He is the only living person who was a part of the Warren Comission, which was set up to discover the truth about John F. Kenndey's assassination.
He is the only President to have two assassination attempts made on him. They happened witin seventeen days of each other in 1975.
He is one of the few only children to serve as President.
Since the death of Ronald Reagan on 5 June 2004, Ford has been the oldest living former President.
He held the Grand Rapids congressional district seat in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1973.
He has four children; Michael (born 1950) John "Jack" (born 1952), Steven (born 1956) and Susan Vance Bales (born 1957).
He married Betty Bloomer Warren on October 15th 1948, at Grace Episcopal Church, in Grand Rapids.
He was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at the University of Michigan.
He is the only President of the United States whose parents have been divorced.
He is a member of the Episcopalian church.
He was a member of the American Republican party.
Quotes of Gerald Ford
In all my public and private acts as your president, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end.
I'll know I'm getting better at golf because I'm hitting fewer spectators.
A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
The Constitution is the bedrock of all our freedoms; guard and cherish it; keep honor and order in your own house; and the republic will endure.
I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots, so I ask you to confirm me with your prayers.
The political lesson of Watergate is this: Never again must America allow an arrogant, elite guard of political adolescents to by-pass the regular party organization and dictate the terms of a national election.
FORD WHAT IFs
1960-If Nixon had chosen Ford in the 1960 Presidential race as Vice President, Nixon might have carried Michigan and won the Presidency. No Kennedy, no Johnson, no Dallas on Nov. 22nd.
1976-Had Nixon not been pardoned or had Ford kept Nelson Rockefeller on the GOP ticket, he might have carried New York, thus winning re-election. It also did not help that in 1975 when New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy, there was that famous NY Daily News headline that read: FORD TO NYC: DROP DEAD!
1980-Had Ford become Reagan's running mate, there would be no Vice Presidency of George Bush and therefore no Bush Presidency.