|Nicknames:||"Leslie Lynch King", "Gerald Ford", "Gerald Rudolph /Ford/", "Gerald Rudolf /Ford/", "Jr."|
|Birthplace:||Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska, USA|
|Death:||Died in Rancho Mirage, Riverside, California, USA|
|Occupation:||38th President of The United States, 38th President of the United States of America|
|Managed by:||Geoffrey Trowbridge|
About Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr.
Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) was the thirty-eighth President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the fortieth Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974. He was the first person appointed to the vice-presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment, and became President upon Richard Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974. Ford was the fifth U.S. President never to have been elected to that position, and the only one never to have won any national election. Currently, he is also the longest-lived president in U.S. history, living to age 93.
Before ascending to the vice-presidency, Ford served nearly 25 years as Representative from Michigan's 5th congressional district, eight of them as the Republican Minority Leader.
As President, Ford signed the Helsinki Accords, marking a move toward détente in the Cold War. Compared with his predecessors, Ford's policies were less directed towards intervention in Vietnamese affairs. Domestically, the economy suffered from inflation and a recession during his tenure. One of his more controversial decisions was granting a presidential pardon to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. In 1976, Ford narrowly defeated Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination, but ultimately lost the presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter by a small margin.
Following his years as president, Ford remained active in the Republican party. After experiencing health problems and being admitted to the hospital four times in 2006, Ford died at his home on December 26, 2006.
Ford was born as Leslie Lynch King, Jr. on July 15, 1913, at 12:43 a.m. CST, at 3202 Woolworth Avenue in Omaha, Nebraska, where his parents lived with his paternal grandparents. His father was Leslie Lynch King, Sr., a wool trader and son of prominent banker Charles Henry and Martha King.
His mother was the former Dorothy Ayer Gardner. Because of her husband's problems, Dorothy separated from him just sixteen days after her son's birth. She took her son with her to the Oak Park, Illinois home of her sister Tannisse and her husband, Clarence Haskins James. From there she moved to the home of her parents, Levi Addison Gardner and his wife, the former Adele Augusta Ayer, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dorothy and Leslie King divorced in December 1913; she gained full custody of their son. Ford's paternal grandfather Charles Henry King paid child support until shortly before his death in 1930.
Leslie Lynch King, Jr. (later known as Gerald R. Ford) at one year of age in 1914Gerald Ford later said his biological father had a history of hitting his mother. James M. Cannon, a member of the Ford administration, wrote in a Ford biography that the Kings' separation and divorce were sparked when, a few days after Ford's birth, Leslie King threatened Dorothy with a butcher knife and threatened to kill her, the baby, and the baby's nursemaid. Ford later told confidantes that his father had hit his mother first on their honeymoon, for smiling at another man.
After three years with her parents, on February 1, 1916 Dorothy King married Gerald Rudolff Ford, a salesman in a family-owned paint and varnish company. Later he became president of the firm. They then called 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. He was raised in Grand Rapids with his three half-brothers by his mother's second marriage: Thomas Gardner Ford (1918–1995), Richard Addison Ford (born 1924), and James Francis Ford (1927–2001).
Ford also had three half-siblings from his father's second marriage: Marjorie King (1921–1993), Leslie Henry King (1923–1976), and Patricia Jane King (born 1925. They never saw each other as children and he did not know them at all. Ford was not aware of his biological father until he was 17, when his parents told him about the circumstances of his birth. That same year his father Leslie King, whom Ford 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.
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."
Scouting and athletics
Eagle Scout Gerald Ford (circled in red) in 1929. Michigan Governor Fred Green at far left, holding hat.Ford was immensely involved in 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. 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. 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, where they formed an honor guard as the casket went by in front of the museum, and served as ushers.
Ford attended Grand Rapids South High School and was a star athlete and captain of his 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.
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, and after a 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.”
Ford as a University of Michigan football player, 1933During the same season, in a game against the University of Chicago, Ford “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.” 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. As part of the 1935 Collegiate All-Star football team, Ford played against the Chicago Bears in an exhibition game at Soldier Field.
Ford retained his interest in football and his alma mater throughout life, occasionally attending games and on one occasion asking to be awakened to find out the score of an Ohio State-Michigan football game, while attending a summit in the Soviet Union as President. The University of Michigan retired Ford's #48 jersey in 1994.
Ford was also an avid golfer. In 1977, he shot a hole in one during a Pro-am held in conjunction with the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic at Colonial Country Club in Memphis, Tennessee. He received the 1985 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, GCSAA's highest honor.
At University of 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. Ford continued to contribute to football and boxing, accepting an assistant coaching job for both at Yale in September 1935.
Ford hoped to attend Yale's law school beginning in 1935 while serving as boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach; and also teaching JV cheerleading, which he was very good at, as he knew how to do several tucks and back handsprings but Yale officials initially denied his 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 and was eventually admitted in the spring of 1938 to Yale Law School. 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 the U.S. out of World War II.
Ford graduated from law school in 1941, and was admitted to the Michigan bar shortly there after. In May 1941, he opened a Grand Rapids law practice with a friend, Philip Buchen, 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.
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, 1945Applying 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. 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 on the hanger deck. During the storm, Ford narrowly avoided becoming a casualty himself. As he was going to 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."
Because of the extent of the fires, Admiral Halsey ordered Captain Ingersoll to abandon ship. Instead Captain Ingersoll ordered Ford to lead a fire brigade below. After five hours he and his team had put out the fire.
Men aboard the USS Monterey (CVL-26) playing basketball in the forward elevator well June, 1944; the jumper on the left is FordAfter 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.
Ford was a member of several civic organizations, including the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and AMVETS.Gerald R. Ford was initiated into Freemasonry on September 30, 1949. He later said in 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."
Marriage and children
The Fords on their wedding day, October 15, 1948On 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 United States 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."
The Fords had four children:
Michael Gerald, born in 1950
John Gardner, known as Jack, born in 1952
Steven Meigs, born in 1956
Susan Elizabeth, born in 1957
House of Representatives
Ford meets with President Richard Nixon as House Minority LeaderAfter returning to Grand Rapids, Ford became active in local Republican politics, and supporters urged him to take on Bartel J. Jonkman, the incumbent Republican congressman. Military service had changed his view of the world; "I came back a converted internationalist", Ford wrote, "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." 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. 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.
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." 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."
Congressman Gerald Ford, MSFC director Wernher von Braun, Congressman George H. Mahon, and NASA Administrator James E. Webb visit the Marshall Space Flight Center for a briefing on the Saturn program, 1964
 Warren Commission
Main article: Warren Commission
Further information: John F. Kennedy assassination
In November 1963, 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. Ford was assigned to prepare a biography of Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin. The Commission's work continues to be debated in the public arena.
According to newly released records from Ford's FBI files, he secretly advised the FBI that two of his fellow members on the Warren Commission doubted the FBI's conclusion that John F. Kennedy was shot from the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository in Dallas. A 1963 FBI memo that said Ford, then a Republican congressman from Michigan, had volunteered to keep the FBI informed about the panel's private deliberations, but only if that relationship remained confidential. The bureau agreed. Ford generally believed in single bullet and single assassin theory.
According to the same reports, Ford generally had a strong ties to FBI and J. Edgar Hoover.
House Minority Leader
In 1965, Republican members of the House elected Ford as its Minority Leader. 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. 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". Johnson said of Ford at the time, "That Gerald Ford. He can't fart and chew gum at the same time." The press, used to sanitizing LBJ's salty language, reported this as "Gerald Ford can't walk and chew gum at the same time."
Vice Presidency, 1973–74
On October 10, 1973, Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned from the Nixon administration and then pleaded no contest to criminal charges of tax evasion and money laundering, part of a negotiated resolution to a scheme wherein he accepted $29,500 in bribes while governor of Maryland. 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".
The Fords and the Nixons in the White House Blue Room following President Nixon's nomination of Ford to be Vice President, October 1973Ford was nominated to take Agnew's position on October 13, 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. Only three Senators, all Democrats, had voted against Ford's confirmation: Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, Thomas Eagleton of Missouri and William Hathaway of Maine. On December 6, the House confirmed Ford by a vote of 387 to 35. One hour after the confirmation vote in the House, Ford took the oath of office as Vice President of the United States.
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 she 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.'"
Gerald Ford is sworn in as the 38th President of the United States by Chief Justice Warren Burger in the White House East Room, while Betty Ford looks on.
Ford and his golden retriever, Liberty, in the Oval Office, 1974When Nixon resigned in the wake of the Watergate scandal on August 9, 1974, Ford assumed the presidency, making him the only person to assume the vice-presidency and the presidency without having been voted into either office. 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." He went on to state:
I have not sought this enormous responsibility, but I will not shirk it. Those who nominated and confirmed me as Vice President were my friends and are my friends. They were of both parties, elected by all the people and acting under the Constitution in their name. It is only fitting then that I should pledge to them and to you that I will be the President of all the people.
A portion of the speech would later be memorialized with a plaque at the entrance to his presidential museum.
On August 20 Ford nominated former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller to fill the vice presidency he had vacated. Rockefeller's top competitor had been George H.W. Bush. Rockefeller underwent extended hearings before Congress, which caused embarrassment when it was revealed he made massive gifts to senior aides, such as Henry Kissinger. Although conservative Republicans were not pleased that Rockefeller was picked, most of them did vote for his confirmation, and his nomination passed both the House and Senate. However, some, including Barry Goldwater, voted against him.
Pardon of Nixon
On September 8, 1974, Ford issued Proclamation 4311, which gave Nixon a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes he may have committed against the United States while President. 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 a 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." 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. Unconditional amnesty, however, did not come about until the Jimmy Carter Presidency.
President Ford appears at a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing regarding his pardon of Richard Nixon.The Nixon pardon was highly controversial. Critics derided the move and claimed, a "corrupt bargain" had been struck between the men. 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."
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The Nixon PardonDespite 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. 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."
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.
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. In 2001, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award to Ford for his pardon of Nixon.
 Administration and cabinet
Upon assuming office, Ford inherited Nixon's cabinet. 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.
The Ford Cabinet
OFFICE NAME TERM
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
Other cabinet-level posts:
White House Chief of Staff
Donald Rumsfeld (1974–1975)
Dick Cheney (1975–1977)
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Roy Ash (1974–1975)
James T. Lynn (1975–1977)
United States Trade Representative
William D. Eberle (1974–1975)
Frederick B. Dent (1975–1977)
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Russell E. Train (1974–1977)
United States Ambassador to the United Nations
John A. Scali (1974–1975)
Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1975–1976)
William Scranton (1976–1977)
Other important posts:
United States National Security Advisor
Henry Kissinger (1974–1975)
Brent Scowcroft (1975–1977)
Director of Central Intelligence
William E. Colby (1974–1976)
George H. W. Bush (1976–1977)
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.
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. Ford's dramatic reorganization of his Cabinet in the fall of 1975 has been referred to by political commentators as the "Halloween Massacre."
 Midterm elections
Main articles: United States House elections, 1974 and United States Senate elections, 1974
The 1974 Congressional midterm elections took place less than three months after Ford assumed office and 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. This 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). Even Ford's old, reliably Republican seat was taken by Democrat Richard VanderVeen, defeating Republican Robert VanderLaan. In the Senate elections, the Democratic majority became 61 in the 100-seat body.
 Domestic policy
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. In hindsight, this was viewed as simply a public relations gimmick without offering any effective means of solving the underlying problems. At the time, inflation was approximately seven percent.
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."
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. 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 in December of that year. The vaccine was blamed for twenty-five deaths; more people died from the shots than from the swine flu.
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.
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.
As president, Ford's position on abortion was that he supported "a federal constitutional amendment that would permit each one of the 50 States to make the choice." This had also been his position as House Minority Leader in response to the 1973 Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade, which he opposed. Ford came under criticism for a 60 Minutes interview his wife Betty gave in 1975, in which she stated that Roe v. Wade was a "great, great decision." During his later life, Ford would identify as pro-choice.
 Foreign policy
All U.S. 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 U.S. civilians from Vietnam in Operation Frequent Wind, and the subsequent fall of Saigon. On April 29 and the morning of April 30, 1975, the U.S. 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 treatyFord continued the détente policy with both the Soviet Union and China, easing the tensions of the Cold War. In his meeting with Indonesian president Suharto, Ford gave the green light through arms and aid to invade the former Portuguese colony East Timor.
Still in place from the Nixon Administration was the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT). The thawing relationship brought about by Nixon's visit to China was reinforced by Ford's December 1975 visit to the communist country. In 1975, the Administration entered into the Helsinki Accords 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.
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, 41 U.S. servicemen were killed and 50 wounded while approximately 60 Khmer Rouge soldiers were killed.
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.
 Assassination attempts
Secret Service agents rush Ford to safety after the first assassination attempt.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, 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 cartridges, it was a semi-automatic pistol and the slide had not been pulled to place a round 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.
Reaction immediately after the second assassination attempt.In reaction to this attempt, the Secret Service started to keep Ford at a more secure distance from anonymous crowds, a strategy that may have saved his life seventeen days later: as he left a hotel in downtown San Francisco, Sara Jane Moore, standing in a crowd of onlookers across the street, pointed her pistol at him. Just before she fired, former Marine Oliver Sipple grabbed at the gun and deflected her shot; one person was injured. Moore was later sentenced to life in prison. She was paroled from prison on December 31, 2007, having served 32 years.
 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. 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. 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."
 1976 presidential election
Main article: United States presidential election, 1976
Ford reluctantly agreed to run for office in 1976, but first he had to counter a challenge for the Republican party nomination. Then-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 late 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.
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."
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. On July 7, 1976, the President and First Lady served as hosts at a White House state dinner for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of the United Kingdom, 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". 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".
Ford (at right) and Jimmy Carter debateDemocratic nominee and former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter campaigned as an outsider and reformer, gaining support from voters dismayed by the Watergate scandal and Nixon pardon. After the Democratic National Convention, he held a huge 33-point lead over Ford in the polls. However, as the campaign continued the race tightened, and by election day the polls showed the race as too close to call. Carter's decline in the polls, and Ford's surge, is usually credited to three events. First, Carter promised a "blanket pardon" to Vietnam War draft dodgers in a speech before the American Legion, an act which angered many conservatives who viewed the draft dodgers as traitors. Second, Playboy magazine published a controversial interview with Carter; in the interview Carter admitted to having "lusted in his heart" for women other than his wife, which cut into his support among women and evangelical Christians. Finally, on September 24, Ford performed well in what was the first televised presidential debate since 1960. Polls taken after the debate showed that most viewers felt that Ford was the winner. Carter was also hurt by Ford's charges that he lacked the necessary experience to be an effective national leader, and that Carter was vague on many issues.
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". 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. As a result of this blunder, Ford's surge stalled and Carter was able to maintain a slight lead in the polls.
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. 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.
Had Ford won the election, he would have been disqualified by the 22nd Amendment from running in 1980, since he served more than two years of Nixon's term.
An article published in Newsweek shortly after Ford's death in 2006 discussed the former President's spiritual beliefs and cited evidence that Ford's preference not to openly express his Episcopalian faith in public contributed to his loss to Southern Baptist former Sunday school teacher Jimmy Carter. Ford's lowest level of support was in the Bible Belt states of the Deep South (Carter won every Southern state that year except Virginia).
 Post-presidential years, 1977–2006
The Nixon 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."
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. In 1979, Ford published his autobiography, A Time to Heal, (Harper/Reader's Digest, 454 pages). A Foreign Policy review describes it as, "Serene, unruffled, unpretentious, like the author. This is the shortest and most honest of recent presidential memoirs, but there are no surprises, no deep probings of motives or events. No more here than meets the eye".
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. Their close friendship developed after Carter had left office, with the catalyst being their trip together to the funeral of Anwar el-Sadat in 1981. Until Ford's death, Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, visited the Fords' home frequently. In 2001, Ford and Carter served as honorary co-chairs of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform.
Like Presidents Carter, Bush Sr. 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 were unsuccessful. Ford conditioned his acceptance on Reagan's agreement to an unprecedented "co-presidency", 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.
After his presidency, Ford joined the American Enterprise Institute as a distinguished fellow. He founded the annual AEI World Forum in 1982.
In 1977, he established the Gerald R. Ford Institute of Public Policy at Albion College in Albion, Michigan, 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. In 1999, Ford was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bill Clinton. 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. 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.
Ford at his 90th birthday with Laura Bush, President George W. Bush, and Betty Ford in the White House State Dining Room in 2003In October 2001, 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 expressing his hope that the Republican Party would reach out to gay and lesbian voters. 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 non-issue in the Republican Party".
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 pre-recorded 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.
 Health problems
As Ford approached his 90th year, he began to experience health problems associated with old age. He suffered two minor strokes at the 2000 Republican National Convention, but made a quick recovery after being admitted to Hahnemann University Hospital.In January 2006, he spent 11 days at the Eisenhower Medical Center near his residence at Rancho Mirage, California, for treatment of pneumonia. 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. 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. The previous day, Ford entered the Eisenhower Medical Center for undisclosed tests; he was released on October 16. By November 2006 he was confined to a bed in his study.
Main article: Death and state funeral of Gerald Ford
President Ford's tomb at his Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, MichiganFord 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 of arteriosclerotic cerebrovascular disease and diffuse arteriosclerosis.
With their father's health failing, all four of Gerald and Betty Ford's children visited their parents' home shortly before Christmas. 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 he performed last rites.
Ford is honored during a memorial service in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. on December 30, 2006.At 8:49 p.m., Ford's wife, Betty, issued a statement that confirmed his death: "My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, has died at 93 years of age. His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country." The statement was released by President Ford's Office. The body was taken to the Eisenhower Medical Center, where it 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." Carter delivered an emotional eulogy at the funeral service at Grace Episcopal Church in East Grand Rapids on January 3, 2007. Ford was also eulogized by Donald Rumsfeld, who was Ford's defense secretary, 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.
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.Ford was the longest-lived U.S. President, his lifespan being 45 days longer than Ronald Reagan's. He was the third-longest-lived Vice President, falling short only of John Nance Garner, 98, and Levi P. Morton, 96. Ford had the second-longest post-presidency (29 years and 11 months) after Herbert Hoover (31 years and 7 months).
Ford died on the 34th anniversary of President Harry Truman's death, the second U.S. President to die on Boxing Day, which Ford's pastor, The Rev. Dr. Robert Certain, noted when he referred to December 26 as its traditional Christian reference, St. Stephen's Day. He was the last surviving member of the Warren Commission.
On November 12, 2006 upon surpassing Ronald Reagan's lifespan, Ford 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.
 Electoral history
Main article: Electoral history of Gerald Ford
 See also
United States Navy portal
Gerald R. Ford Freeway
Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)
Liberty, Ford's pet (a golden retriever)
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^ 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 [Kennedy's] neck slightly to the right of the spine." Some believed that Ford had elevated the location of the wound from its true location in the back to the neck to support the single bullet theory. ("Gerald Ford". Spartacus Schoolnet. Retrieved on 2006-12-29.) 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." Ford replied in an introduction to a new edition of the Warren Commission Report in 2004:
I have been accused of changing some wording on the Warren Commission Report to favor the lone-assassin conclusion. That is absurd. Here is what the draft said: "A bullet had entered his back at a point slightly above the shoulder and to the right of the spine.” To any reasonable person, “above the shoulder and to the right” sounds very high and way off the side — and that’s what it sounded like to me. That would have given the totally wrong impression. Technically, from a medical perspective, the bullet entered just to the right at the base of the neck, so my recommendation to the other members was to change it to say, “A bullet had entered the back of his neck, slightly to the right of the spine.” After further investigation, we then unanimously agreed that it should read, “A bullet had entered the base of his neck slightly to the right of the spine.” As with any report, there were many clarifications and language changes suggested by several of us.
Ford's description matched a drawing prepared for the Commission under the direction of Dr. James J. Humes, supervisor of Kennedy's autopsy, who in his testimony to the Commission said three times that the entrance wound was in the "low neck." The Commission was not shown the autopsy photographs.
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^ Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. "Vocal Gay Republicans Upsetting Conservatives," The New York Times, June 1, 2003, p. N26.
^ Woodward, Bob. "Ford Disagreed With Bush About Invading Iraq". The Washington Post, December 28, 2006. Retrieved on December 28, 2006
^ Embargoed Interview Reveals Ford Opposed Iraq War. Democracy Now Headlines for December 28, 2006. Retrieved on December 28, 2006
^ Gerald Ford recovering after strokes. BBC, August 2, 2000. Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
^ Hospitalized After Suffering a Stroke, Former President Ford Is Expected to Fully Recover NYTimes, August 3, 2000. Retrieved on 2008-07-05.
^ Former President Ford, 92, hospitalized with pneumonia. Associated Press, January 17, 2006. Retrieved on 2007-10-19.
^ Gerald Ford released from hospital. Associated Press, July 26, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
^ Former President Ford in hospital for tests. Associated Press, 2006-10-12. Retrieved on 2008-03-02.
^ Gerald Ford Dies At Age 93. CNN Transcript December 26, 2006. Retrieved on 2008-03-02.
^ a b Wilson, Jeff. Former President Gerald Ford Dies at 93. Associated Press. December 27, 2006. Also available here. Retrieved on December 31, 2006.
^ Hoffman, Allison (2006-12-28). "Pastor: Family Gathered Near Dying Ford", CBS News. Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
^ "Former President Gerald Ford Dies", WCBS-TV (2006-12-27). Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
^ Smith, J.Y.; Cannon, Lou (2006-12-27). "Gerald R. Ford, 93, Dies; Led in Watergate's Wake", The Washington Post. Retrieved on 2007-01-04.
^ Kornblut, Anne E (2006-12-28). "Ford Arranged His Funeral to Reflect Himself and Drew In a Former Adversary", The New York Times, p. A21. Retrieved on 2007-01-04.
^ Certain, Rev. Dr. Robert (2007-01-02). "Homily Offered by the Rev. Dr. Robert Certain State Funeral of Gerald R. Ford". Catehdral.org. Retrieved on 2001-01-17.
^ "Ford eclipses Reagan as oldest ex-president", USA Today (2006-11-12). Retrieved on 2008-03-02.
Gerald Ford was vice president under President Richard Nixon. He became 38th President of the United States when Nixon resigned.
Gerald was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. His birth father was an abusive man, and his mother divorced him. After his mother remarried to Gerald Rudolff Ford, Sr., Gerald took his name, though he was never formally adopted.
Originally named after his birth Father, Leslie Lynch King. Legally changed his name on 3 Dec 1935 to Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr.
- ID: I113287
- Name: Gerald Rudolph FORD
- Given Name: Gerald Rudolph
- Surname: Ford
- Prefix: President
- Suffix: Jr.
- Name: Leslie Lynch KING
- Given Name: Leslie Lynch
- Surname: King
- Sex: M
- Birth: 14 Jul 1913 in Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska, USA
- Death: 26 Dec 2006 in Rancho Mirage, Riverside, California, USA 1
- Event: Leslie Lynch King Jr. Alt. Name 14 Jul 1913 Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska, USA
- Note: Originally named after his birth Father, Leslie Lynch King. Legally changed his name on 3 Dec 1935 to Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr.
- Event: Election Bet 1974 and 1977
- Note: 38th President of the United States
- _UID: 9B9029E43C9742509049077969858447AF2B
- Change Date: 3 Jan 2007 at 09:20
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- Title: President Gerald R. Ford
- _SCBK: Y
- _PRIM: Y
- _TYPE: PHOTO
Became President when Richard Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974 following the Watergate scandal. The only man in the US history who has held the office of president and vice-president without being elected to either office. Was narrowly defeated in the 1976 election by Jimmy Carter.
When Gerald R. Ford took the oath of office on August 9, 1974, he declared, "I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances.... This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts."
It was indeed an unprecedented time. He had been the first Vice President chosen under the terms of the Twenty-fifth Amendment and, in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, was succeeding the first President ever to resign.
Ford was confronted with almost insuperable tasks. There were the challenges of mastering inflation, reviving a depressed economy, solving chronic energy shortages, and trying to ensure world peace.
The President acted to curb the trend toward Government intervention and spending as a means of solving the problems of American society and the economy. In the long run, he believed, this shift would bring a better life for all Americans.
Ford's reputation for integrity and openness had made him popular during his 25 years in Congress. From 1965 to 1973, he was House Minority Leader. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1913, he grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He starred on the University of Michigan football team, then went to Yale, where he served as assistant coach while earning his law degree. During World War II he attained the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy. After the war he returned to Grand Rapids, where he began the practice of law, and entered Republican politics. A few weeks before his election to Congress in 1948, he married Elizabeth Bloomer. They have four children: Michael, John, Steven, and Susan.
As President, Ford tried to calm earlier controversies by granting former President Nixon a full pardon. His nominee for Vice President, former Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York, was the second person to fill that office by appointment. Gradually, Ford selected a cabinet of his own.
Ford established his policies during his first year in office, despite opposition from a heavily Democratic Congress. His first goal was to curb inflation. Then, when recession became the Nation's most serious domestic problem, he shifted to measures aimed at stimulating the economy. But, still fearing inflation, Ford vetoed a number of non-military appropriations bills that would have further increased the already heavy budgetary deficit. During his first 14 months as President he vetoed 39 measures. His vetoes were usually sustained.
Ford continued as he had in his Congressional days to view himself as "a moderate in domestic affairs, a conservative in fiscal affairs, and a dyed-in-the-wool internationalist in foreign affairs." A major goal was to help business operate more freely by reducing taxes upon it and easing the controls exercised by regulatory agencies. "We...declared our independence 200 years ago, and we are not about to lose it now to paper shufflers and computers," he said.
In foreign affairs Ford acted vigorously to maintain U. S. power and prestige after the collapse of Cambodia and South Viet Nam. Preventing a new war in the Middle East remained a major objective; by providing aid to both Israel and Egypt, the Ford Administration helped persuade the two countries to accept an interim truce agreement. Detente with the Soviet Union continued. President Ford and Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev set new limitations upon nuclear weapons.
President Ford won the Republican nomination for the Presidency in 1976, but lost the election to his Democratic opponent, former Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia.
On Inauguration Day, President Carter began his speech: "For myself and for our Nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land." A grateful people concurred.
From www.foxnews.com, headline "Former U.S. President Gerald Ford Dies at 93"
No cause of death was stated by his family in their announcement. Ford had battled pneumonia in January 2006 and underwent two heart treatments - including an angioplasty - in August at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He died at 6:45 p.m. PST at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
"My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that <u>Gerald Ford </u>, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age," Ford's wife, Betty Ford, said in a brief statement issued from her husband's office. "His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country."
President Bush said Wednesday that Americans came to know Ford as a man of "complete integrity" at a time filled with political turmoil.
"He assumed power in a time of great division and turmoil for a nation that needed healing and for a office that needed a calm and steady hand. Gerald Ford came along when we needed him most," Bush said from his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
"Americans will always admire Gerald Ford's unflinching performance of duty and the honorable conduct of his administration and the great rectitude of the man himself. We mourn the loss of such a leader and our 38th president will always have a special place in our nation's memory."
Ford is survived by his wife of 58 years, four children, seven grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and his brother Richard of Grand Rapids, Mich. Funeral services will be held in Washington, D.C., and Grand Rapids, and he will lie in repose in both those locations as well as in Palm Desert, Calif. The Gerald R. Ford Library on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is also expecting visitors who wish to pay their respects.
A respected and beloved elder statesman in his post-White House years, Ford ascended to the presidency in the wake of the Nixon administration scandals. Ford was the first and only president to reach the Oval Office having never been elected vice president or president.
While his most controversial move as president was his quick pardoning of Richard Nixon, Ford always maintained he did so to hasten the nation's healing. He pardoned Vietnam draft resisters a week later.
Ford served in the U.S. Navy during the World War II, was a long-time congressman from Michigan, survived two assassination attempts during his presidency, and, at the time of his death, was the oldest living member of the Warren Commission that investigated the death of John F. Kennedy.
Though he was often parodied as physically clumsy, Ford was actually a gifted athlete who turned down a professional football career to pursue a law degree and worked as a coach and physical education teacher throughout his early career, even after he began practicing law and during his military service.
<b>The Early Years</b>
Ford was born July 14, 1913, in Omaha, Neb., to Leslie Lynch King and Dorothy Ayer Gardner King. He was originally named Leslie Lynch King Jr., after his father, but his parents separated when he was just two weeks old. In 1916, Dorothy married Gerald R. Ford, a paint salesman, and began calling her son Gerald R. Ford Jr.
Dorothy and Ford Sr. had three more sons, Thomas, Richard and James, and Ford was raised the oldest boy in a close and loving family. But, he did not know his mother's husband was not his biological father until 1930, and did not legally change his name until 1935.
After his high school graduation in 1931, Ford received a scholarship to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Majoring in economics and political science, Ford was a star athlete. He played on the university's national championship football teams in 1931 and 1933 and was voted the Wolverines' most valuable player in 1934.
Ford passed up a professional football career to take a job as a boxing coach and assistant football coach at Yale University, where he attended law school. He graduated in 1941 in the top 25 percent of his class. It was during his law school years that Ford was introduced to politics, when he worked on Wendell Willkie's 1940 presidential campaign.
After graduating from Yale, Ford returned to Michigan and established a law firm in Grand Rapids and taught a course in business law at the University of Grand Rapids. He also served as line coach for the school's football team until World War II.
In April 1942, Ford joined the U.S. Naval Reserve as an ensign and the next year was stationed aboard the USS Monterey, a light aircraft carrier that participated in most of the major operations in the South Pacific. In December 1944, a typhoon pounded the Monterey, which caught fire. Ford was nearly swept overboard, the closest he came to death during the entire war.
After his discharge in 1946 as a lieutenant commander, Ford returned to Grand Rapids and became a partner in a law firm. He found himself in new ideological terrain - an isolationist before the war, Ford was now a committed internationalist.
Ford decided to challenge incumbent Rep. Bartel Jonkman, an isolationist, for the Republican nomination in the 1948 election. Ford beat Jonkman and went on to win the seat with 61 percent of the vote.
The voters of Michigan would re-elect him 12 times, each time giving him more than 60 percent of the vote.
It was during his House campaign that Ford married Elizabeth Ann Bloomer Warren, a department store fashion consultant - legendarily campaigning on his wedding day. Gerald and Betty Ford had four children between 1950 and 1957: Michael Gerald, John Gardner, Steven Meigs and Susan Elizabeth.
<b>A Distinguished Legislative Career</b>
Ford served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Jan. 3, 1949, to Dec. 6, 1973. He described himself as "a moderate in domestic affairs, an internationalist in foreign affairs and a conservative in fiscal policy."
The Republican Party tapped Ford as a rising star early in his career. Throughout the 1950s, he was encouraged to run for both the Senate and for governor of Michigan, but Ford declined these offers. His true ambition was to become speaker of the House, a post Ford would never achieve due to the Democrat's hold on the House throughout his tenure.
Ford was a member of a group of younger, more progressive House Republicans who believed the party's old guard had grown stagnant. In 1961, in a revolt of the "Young Turks," Ford became chairman of the House Republican Conference - the number three leadership position in the party - and later rose to become House minority leader.
In 1963 President Johnson appointed Ford to the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Ford never wavered in his belief that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. In 1965 Ford co-authored, with John R. Stiles, a book about the findings of the commission, "Portrait of the Assassin."
In the 1968 and 1972 elections, Ford supported his good friend, Richard Nixon. On good terms with both the conservative and liberal wings of the Republican Party, he made the short list of possible vice presidential candidates in 1968.
In late 1973, Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned his office after pleading no contest to a charge of income tax evasion. Nixon chose Ford as Agnew's replacement. In Ford, the tarnished Nixon administration found a candidate of impeccable character and reputation.
Ford was confirmed and sworn in on Dec. 6, 1973. But he would serve only nine months as vice president, his entire term overshadowed by the unraveling of the Nixon administration.
By the summer of 1974, the public outrage over the Watergate scandal - the break-in of the Democratic headquarters during the 1972 campaign and the cover-up of the incident by Nixon officials - reached full pitch. Facing impeachment, Nixon resigned from office, the first president in U.S. history ever to do so. On Aug. 9, 1974, Ford took the presidential oath of office, saying that "the long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works."
A month after taking office, on Sept. 6, 1974, Ford granted Richard Nixon a "full, free and absolute pardon" for all federal crimes Nixon committed, or may have committed, during his presidency. The decision was the most difficult and controversial of his presidency, and resulted in a public distrust of him that persisted throughout his tenure.
Ford claimed at the time, and has always maintained, that he pardoned Nixon to dispatch of the matter quickly so that the nation, and the American people, could move on. The pardon was a major factor in Ford losing the 1976 election to Jimmy Carter.
Years later, former President Bill Clinton praised Ford for keeping the big picture in mind and not getting swept away as Clinton had done.
"You didn't get caught up in the moment and you were right. You were right for the controversial decisions you made to keep the country together and I thank you for that," Clinton said in 1999 when Ford received the Congressional Gold Medal. The medal represents Congress' highest expression of appreciation and is inscribed "Lives of Service, Examples of Integrity.
<b>The Ford Presidency</b>
Beyond the problems created by the Nixon pardon, Ford also had to confront other difficulties when he took office - the United States was embroiled in a controversial war in Southeast Asia and plagued by rising inflation and threats of energy shortages.
Ford's philosophy on domestic policy was best summed up by a line from one of his favorite speeches: "A government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have."
Ford pursued modest tax and spending cuts as well as industry deregulation and decontrolling energy prices to stimulate production. He believed these strategies would contain both inflation and unemployment while reducing the size of the federal government and helping the nation overcome the energy crisis.
The 94th Congress, however, was controlled by the Democrats, who had won huge gains in the 1974 elections. Congress pushed through legislation with little regard for Ford's views; the president responded by using the veto - 36 times in total - his only means of combating Congress.
As Ford took office, the Nixon administration's policy of detente - increased diplomatic, commercial and cultural contact between the United States and the Soviet Union - was beginning to disintegrate and Soviet relations gradually got worse.
Still, the Ford administration was able to reach two important agreements with the Soviets. The first, the Vladivostok Accords of November 1974, was an arms control agreement designed to strengthen the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) of 1972. The second was the Helsinki Agreements of 1975, which aimed to observe universal standards of human rights in exchange for Western nations' recognition of Soviet dominance of Eastern Europe.
In January 1973, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger signed the Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam, intending to assist South Vietnam in fending off the North. But that same year, Congress banned the use of appropriated funds in the region, halting American involvement in Vietnam. In April 1975, when the North Vietnamese communists began conquering the South and overwhelmed what was left of the South Vietnamese government, Ford and Kissinger were unable to persuade Congress to provide military aid to South Vietnam.
Ford believed America should have seen Vietnam through to the end.
"It has been said that the United States is overextended, that we have too many commitments far from home, that we must re-examine what our truly vital interests are and shape our strategy to conform to them," Ford said. "I find no fault with this as a theory, but in the real world such a course must be pursued carefully. We cannot, in the meantime, abandon our friends while our adversaries support and encourage theirs."
But on April 30, 1975, the last Americans were evacuated by helicopter from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon as the North Vietnamese took control of the South.
There would be one more chapter to the U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia when, two weeks after the fall of Saigon, on May 12, 1975, Cambodian forces led by a new communist government captured an American freighter, the Mayaguez, in the Gulf of Siam, taking its crew hostage. Kissinger persuaded Ford not to negotiate for the hostages but to instead demonstrate to the world that the United Stated could still assert its power. On May 14, 1975, as the 39 hostages were being safely released, the U.S. attacked Cambodian naval bases. Forty-one Americans were killed in the action.
As 1975 wound down, Congress and the president struggled repeatedly over presidential war powers, oversight of the CIA and covert operations, military aid appropriations, and the stationing of military personnel. Then, in September 1975, on two separate trips to California, Ford was the target of assassination attempts. Both of the assailants were women - Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a former follower of Charles Manson, and Sara Jane Moore.
As Ford headed into the 1976 election, the biggest threat to his presidency came from fellow Republican Ronald Reagan. The fight with Reagan was long and bitter, but Ford won the nomination, selecting Kansas Sen. Robert Dole as his running mate. Ford lost the general election to Jimmy Carter in one of the closest elections in history.
<b>Return to Private Life</b>
After leaving the White House, the now former president and his wife chose to make California their home, building a new house in Rancho Mirage. After a nearly lifelong career in public office, Ford was finally free to pursue financial and business opportunities. He hired an agent from the William Morris Agency and negotiated a television deal with NBC, and both he and his wife received lucrative advances to write their memoirs.
Ford also joined the boards of several companies, among them American Express and Amex and Travelers Group, and he became popular on the lecture circuit.
Since leaving office, Ford voiced concern about political partisanship, civility in politics, and the policies of affirmative action. In 1998 he authored two opinion pieces, one with former President Jimmy Carter, regarding the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.
In 1999, Ford received the Medal of Freedom. This honor, the nation's highest civilian award, was presented by Clinton in recognition of Ford's role in guiding the nation through the turbulent times of Watergate, the Nixon resignation and the end of the Vietnam War.
As Ford entered his 80s, his athletic life began to catch up with him. In 1990, Ford underwent surgery to have cartilage inserted into his left knee. The procedure was repeated in 1992 on his right knee. In 1995, Ford had surgery on his shoulder to repair an injury that dated back to his college football career. Two months later, Ford re-injured the shoulder while golfing with former President Clinton and former President George H.W. Bush, and underwent a second surgery.
In 2000, Ford suffered a mild stroke while attending the Republican convention in Philadelphia. Ford made a full recovery, resuming his golf game. In 2006, he was hospitalized in January for 12 days with pneumonia, and again with shortness of breath in July.
<b>Born:</b> July 14, 1913, Omaha, Neb.
<b>1931:</b> Graduates South High School, Grand Rapids, Mich.
<b>1931 until 1935:</b> Attends University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; plays linebacker and center on UM's national championship football teams
<b>June 17, 1935:</b> Graduated University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
<b>1935 until 1940:</b> Boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach at Yale University
<b>1938:</b> Admitted to Yale Law School
<b>June 7, 1941:</b> Admitted to Michigan bar.
<b>June 18, 1941:</b> Graduated Yale Law School, LL.B. degree
<b>Apr. 20, 1942:</b> Enlisted as ensign in U.S. Naval Reserve
<b>June 1944 until December 1944:</b> Director of physical education, gunnery division officer and assistant navigator aboard light aircraft carrier, USS Monterey, Pacific theater
<b>January 1946:</b> Discharged with reserve rank of lieutenant commander, with 47 months of active service and 10 battle stars
<b>1946 through 1949:</b> Practiced law with firm of Butterfield, Keeney & Amberg in Grand Rapids, Mich.
<b>Sep. 14, 1948:</b> Won Republican nomination for U.S. House of Representatives, defeating four- term incumbent in primary
<b>Nov. 2, 1948:</b> Elected to Congress
<b>Jan. 3, 1949, until Dec. 6, 1973:</b> Served in U.S. House of Representatives (Fifth District, Michigan)
<b>1963 through 1964:</b> Member of Warren Commission investigating Kennedy assassination
<b>Jan. 4, 1965:</b> Elected House minority leader
<b>1965:</b> Co-author of "Portrait of the Assassin (Lee Harvey Oswald)," with John R. Stiles
<b>1969:</b> Ford attempted to bring about the impeachment of Associate Justice William O. Douglas, a civil libertarian
<b>1968, 1972:</b> Permanent Chairman, Republican National Convention
<b>Dec. 6, 1973:</b> Confirmed as vice president (nominated by President Richard Nixon under provisions of the 25th Amendment, after resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew)
<b>Aug. 9, 1974:</b> Sworn in as president of the United States following the resignation of President Nixon
<b>Aug. 9, 1974, until Jan. 20, 1977:</b> Serves as president of the United States
<b>Sept. 8, 1974:</b> Pardons Nixon
<b>Sept. 16, 1974:</b> Ford offers amnesty to military deserters and draft dodgers of the Vietnam era
<b>November 1974:</b> Signs the Vladivostok Accords, an arms control agreement, with the Soviet Union
<b>April 30, 1975:</b> The last Americans are evacuated from the U.S. Embassy in Saigon
<b>May 14, 1975:</b> Orders the attack of Cambodian naval bases in retaliation for Cambodia's capture of an American freighter, the Mayaguez; the 30 hostages are safely released, but 41 Americans die in the rescue operation
<b>Summer 1975:</b> The Soviet Union signs the Helsinki Agreements on human rights with the United States and 33 other nations
<b>Sept. 5, 1975:</b> First assassination attempt, by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, during visit to California
<b>Sept. 22, 1975:</b> Second assassination attempt, by Sara Jane Moore, happens during separate trip to California
<b>Aug. 18, 1976:</b> Nominated for president at Republican National Convention in Kansas City
<b>Nov. 2, 1976:</b> Defeated by Jimmy Carter
<b>1979:</b> Publishes his memoirs, "A Time to Heal"
<b>Apr. 27, 1981:</b> Gerald R. Ford library in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich., dedicated
<b>1982:</b> Established the American Enterprise Institute's World Forum, an international gathering of former and current world leaders and business executives, which he hosts annually in Vail/Beaver Creek, Colo.
<b>August 1999:</b> Receives the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award
<b>October 1999:</b> President and Mrs. Ford awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for "dedicated public service and outstanding humanitarian contributions"
<b>August 2000:</b> Suffers mild stroke while attending Republican convention in Philadelphia
<b>May 2003:</b> Hospitalized for dizziness experienced while golfing in California
<b>Dec. 13, 2005:</b> Ford, suffering from "a horrible cold," is hospitalized for what his chief of staff calls routine medical tests.
Father: Leslie Lynch KING b: 25 Jul 1881 in Chadron, Dawes, Nebraska, USA
Mother: Dorothy Ayer GARDNER b: 27 Feb 1892 in Harvard, McHenry, Illinois, USA
Marriage 1 Elizabeth "Betty" Ann BLOOMER b: 8 Apr 1918 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA
* Married: 15 Oct 1948 in Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan, USA
* Change Date: 27 Dec 2006
1. Has Children Living FORD
2. Has Children Living FORD
3. Has No Children Living FORD
4. Has Children Living FORD
1. Abbrev: David L. Wright - WorldConnect Online Database
Author: David L. Wright
This database is a compilation of hundreds if not thousands of researchers. It is not without errors and you should take great care when relying on information contained within. Please create a Post Em if you believe something is missing or an error exists only if you have a correction to add. It is not necessary to point out errors that may exist if you do not have correct information to assist me in rectifying the error.
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Name: WorldConnect at Rootsweb.Com -- MyFamily.Com, Inc.
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Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) was the thirty-eighth President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the fortieth Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974. He was the first person appointed to the vice presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment,