Gerald Ford

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Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford

In office
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
Vice President none (August–December 1974)
Nelson Rockefeller
Preceded by Richard M. Nixon
Succeeded by Jimmy Carter

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

In office
January 3, 1965 – December 6, 1973
Deputy Leslie C. Arends
Preceded by Charles A. Halleck
Succeeded by John Jacob Rhodes

In office
January 3, 1949 – December 6, 1973
Preceded by Bartel J. Jonkman
Succeeded by Richard F. Vander Veen

Born July 14, 1913(1913-07-14)
Omaha, Nebraska
Died December 26, 2006 (aged 93)
Rancho Mirage, California
Birth name Leslie Lynch King, Jr.
Nationality America
Political party Republican
Spouse Elizabeth Bloomer Warren
Children Michael Gerald Ford
John Gardner Ford
Steven Meigs Ford
Susan Elizabeth Ford
Residence Lansing, Michigan
Alma mater University of Michigan
Yale Law School
Occupation Lawyer
Religion Episcopalian
Signature Gerald Ford's signature
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Lieutenant Commander
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
American Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal

Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.) (July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th 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 at noon on August 9, 1974. Ford was the fifth U.S. President never to have been elected to that position, and the only one to have held both the office of Vice-President and the office of President while never having been elected to either. He was also the longest-lived president in U.S. history, dying at the age of 93 (when six weeks older than Ronald Reagan).

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, Ford presided over the worst economy since the Great Depression, with growing inflation and a recession during his tenure.[1] One of his more controversial decisions was granting a presidential pardon to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. During Ford’s incumbency, foreign policy was characterized in procedural terms by the increased role Congress began to play, and by the corresponding curb on the powers of the President.[2] In 1976, Ford narrowly defeated Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination, but ultimately lost the presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.

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.


[edit] Early life

[edit] Childhood

Ford was born as Leslie Lynch King, Jr. on July 14, 1913, 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. Dorothy separated from King Sr. 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.[citation needed]

Leslie Lynch King, Jr. (later known as Gerald R. Ford) at one year of age in 1914

Gerald Ford later said his biological father had a history of hitting his mother.[3] 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's 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.[4]

After two and a half 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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[3][7]

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."[8]

[edit] Scouting and athletics

Eagle Scout Gerald Ford (circled in red) in 1929. Michigan Governor Fred Green at far left, holding hat.

Ford was involved in The Boy Scouts of America, and attained that program's highest rank, Eagle Scout.[9] He always regarded this as one of his proudest accomplishments, even after attaining the White House.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12][13]

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.[14]

Attending the University of Michigan as an undergraduate, Ford played center and linebacker for the school’s football team[15] 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.”[16]

Ford as a University of Michigan football player, 1933

During 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.”[17] 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.[18] The University of Michigan retired Ford's #48 jersey in 1994.

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 a Michigan-Ohio State football game, while attending a summit in the Soviet Union as President.[19] Ford often had the Naval band play the University of Michigan fight song, The Victors, prior to state events instead of Hail to the Chief.[20] He also selected the song to be played during his funeral procession at the U.S. Capitol.[21] On his death in December 2006, the University of Michigan Marching Band played the fight song for him one final time, for his last ride from the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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.

[edit] Education

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.[22] Ford continued to contribute to football and boxing, accepting an assistant coaching job for both at Yale in September 1935.[23]

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[24] and was eventually admitted in the spring of 1938 to Yale Law School.[25] 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.[26]

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,[23] 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.[27]

[edit] Naval service in World War II

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

Ford in Navy uniform, 1945

Applying for sea duty, Ford was sent in May 1943 to the pre-commissioning detachment for the new aircraft carrier USS Monterey, at New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey. From the ship's commissioning on June 17, 1943 until the end of December 1944, Ford served as the assistant navigator, Athletic Officer, and antiaircraft battery officer on board the Monterey. While he was on board, the carrier participated in many actions in the Pacific Theater with the Third and Fifth Fleets during the fall of 1943 and in 1944. In 1943, the carrier helped secure Makin Island in the Gilberts, and participated in carrier strikes against Kavieng, New Ireland in 1943. During the spring of 1944, the Monterey supported landings at Kwajalein and Eniwetok and participated in carrier strikes in the Marianas, Western Carolines, and northern New Guinea, as well as in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.[28][29] 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 playing basketball in the forward elevator well June, 1944; the jumper on the left is Ford.[30][31]

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

For his naval service, Gerald Ford earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with nine engagement stars for operations in the Gilbert Islands, Bismarck Archipelago, Marshall Islands, Asiatic and Pacific carrier raids, Hollandia, Marianas, Western Carolines, Western New Guinea, and the Leyte Operation. He also received the Philippine Liberation Medal with two bronze stars for Leyte and Mindoro, as well as the American Campaign and World War II Victory medals.[27]

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.[32] 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."[33]

[edit] Marriage and children

The Fords on their wedding day, October 15, 1948

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

At the time of his engagement, Ford was campaigning for what would be his first of thirteen terms as a member of the 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."[34]

The Fords had four children:

[edit] House of Representatives

Ford meets with President Richard Nixon as House Minority Leader

After 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."[8] 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.[35] 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.[36]

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

In the early 1950s, Ford declined offers to run for both the Senate and the Michigan governorship. Rather, his ambition was to become Speaker of the House.[38]

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

[edit] Warren Commission

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.[39] 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 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.[40] Ford generally believed in the single bullet and single assassin theory.

According to the same reports, Ford generally had strong ties to the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover.[40]

[edit] 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.[36] But 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".[41] Johnson said of Ford at the time, "That Gerald Ford. He can't fart and chew gum at the same time."[42] The press, used to sanitizing LBJ's salty language, reported this as "Gerald Ford can't walk and chew gum at the same time."[43]

An office building in the U.S. Capitol Complex, House Annex 2, was renamed for Gerald Ford as the Ford House Office Building.

[edit] Vice Presidency, 1973–74

On October 10, 1973, Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned 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".[37]

The Fords and the Nixons in the White House Blue Room following President Nixon's nomination of Ford to be Vice President, October 1973

Ford was nominated to take Agnew's position on October 12, the first time the vice-presidential vacancy provision of the 25th Amendment had been implemented. The United States Senate voted 92 to 3 to confirm Ford on November 27. 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 brief 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.[citation needed]

Following Ford's appointment, the Watergate investigation continued until Chief of Staff Alexander Haig contacted Ford on August 1, 1974, and told him that "smoking gun" evidence had been found. The evidence left little doubt that President Nixon had been a part of the Watergate cover-up. At the time, Ford and his wife, Betty, were living in suburban Virginia, waiting for their expected move into the newly designated vice president's residence in Washington, D.C. However, "Al Haig [asked] to come over and see me," Ford later related, "to tell me that there would be a new tape released on a Monday, and he said the evidence in there was devastating and there would probably be either an impeachment or a resignation. And he said, 'I'm just warning you that you've got to be prepared, that things might change dramatically and you could become President.' And I said, 'Betty, I don't think we're ever going to live in the vice president's house.'"[8]

[edit] Presidency, 1974–77

The official White House portrait of Gerald Ford

When President Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, Ford assumed the presidency. He served 29 months as President until January 20, 1977 and presided over what were then the worst economic times since the 1930s, as the cost of living rose higher than at any time since the collapse of the Confederate dollar.[1] Ford controversially pardoned Nixon and survived two assassination attempts, while the fall of Saigon ended the Vietnam War. In his bid for re-election Ford fell badly behind in the polls relative to his Democratic opponent, Jimmy Carter, and although almost catching up as Election Day arrived, was defeated.

[edit] Post-presidential years, 1977–2006

[edit] Activity

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."[44]

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.[45] In 1979, Ford published his autobiography, A Time to Heal (Harper/Reader's Digest, 454 pages). A Foreign Policy review[46] 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.[47] Until Ford's death, Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, visited the Fords' home frequently.[48] In 2001, Ford and Carter served as honorary co-chairs of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform.

Like Presidents Carter, H. W. Bush 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",[49] 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.[50]

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, on the north campus of his alma mater, the University of Michigan.[51] In 1999, Ford was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bill Clinton.[52] 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.[53] 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 2003

In 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.[54] 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".[55]

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.[56][57]

[edit] 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.[58][59] In January 2006, he spent 11 days at the Eisenhower Medical Center near his residence at Rancho Mirage, California, for treatment of pneumonia.[60] 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.[61] 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;[62] he was released on October 16. By November 2006 he was confined to a bed in his study.[63]

[edit] Death

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

Ford died at the age of 93 years and 165 days on December 26, 2006 at 6:45 p.m Pacific Standard Time (02:45, December 27, UTC) at his home in Rancho Mirage, California of arteriosclerotic cerebrovascular disease and diffuse arteriosclerosis. 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. After the service, Ford was interred at his Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

[edit] Longevity

Then-President George W. Bush with 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.[64] He was the last surviving member of the Warren Commission.[65]

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.[66]

[edit] Electoral history

[edit] Named after Gerald Ford

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ a b Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 14. ISBN 0465041957. 
  2. ^ George Lenczowsk, American Presidents, and the Middle East, 1990, p.142
  3. ^ a b Funk, Josh (2006). "Nebraska - Born, Ford Left State As Infant". Associated Press. Retrieved on 2007-10-06. 
  4. ^ Cannon, James. "Gerald R. Ford". Character Above All. Public Broadcasting System. Retrieved on 2006-12-28. 
  5. ^ "A Lifetime of Achievement". Retrieved on 2006-12-28. 
  6. ^ "Gerald R. Ford Genealogical Information". Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum. University of Texas. Retrieved on 2006-12-28. 
  7. ^ ""A Common Man on an Uncommon Climb"". The New York Times. 1976-08-19. p. 28. 
  8. ^ a b c "Gerald Rudolph Ford". Retrieved on 2006-12-28. 
  9. ^ "Fact Sheet Eagle Scouts". Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved on 3 March 2008. 
  10. ^ "Gerald R. Ford". Report to the Nation. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved on 2006-12-28. 
  11. ^ Townley, Alvin. Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 12–13 and 87. ISBN 0-312-36653-1. Retrieved on 2006-12-29. 
  12. ^ Balloch, Jim (2007-01-04). "Knox Eagle Scout has role in Ford funeral". KnoxNews.,1406,KNS_347_5254909,00.html. Retrieved on 2007-01-17. 
  13. ^ Ray, Mark (2007). "Eagle Scout Welcome Gerald Ford Home". Scouting Magazine. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved on 2007-03-05. 
  14. ^ Kunhardt, Jr., Phillip. Gerald R. Ford "Healing the Nation". New York: Riverhead Books. pp. 79–85. Retrieved on 2006-12-28. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Perry, Will. "No Cheers From the Alumni" (PDF). The Wolverines: A Story of Michigan Football. Huntsville, Alabama: The Strode Publishers. pp. 150–152. ISBN 0-87397-055-1. Retrieved on 2006-12-28. 
  17. ^ "Ford one of most athletic Presidents". Associated Press via MSNBC. 2006-12-27. Retrieved on 2006-12-31. 
  18. ^ Greene, J.R.. The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford (American Presidency Series). p. 2. 
  19. ^ Larcom, Geoff. "Colleagues mourn a 'Michigan man'". The Ann Arbor News. Retrieved on 2007-01-24. 
  20. ^ Rozell, Mark J. (October 15, 1992). The Press and the Ford Presidency. University of Michigan Press. p. 38. ISBN 0-472-10350-4. .
  21. ^ Anne E. Kornblut, "Ford Arranged His Funeral to Reflect Himself and Drew in a Former Adversary," New York Times, December 29, 2006.
  22. ^ Smith, Michael David (2006). "Lions, Packers Had Their Chance, But Gerald Ford Chose Law and Politics". NFL Fanhouse. AOL Sports Blog. Retrieved on 2006-12-28. 
  23. ^ a b "Timeline of President Ford's Life and Career". Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum. Gerald R. Ford Library. Retrieved on 2006-12-28. 
  24. ^ at the Phi Delta Phi chapter"The U-M Remembers Gerald R. Ford". The University of Michigan. Retrieved on 2007-01-02. 
  25. ^ "Gerald R. Ford Biography". Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum. Gerald R. Ford Library. Retrieved on 2007-01-02. 
  26. ^ Doenecke, Justus D. (1990). "In Danger Undaunted: The Anti-Interventionist Movement of 1940–1941 As Revealed in the Papers of the America First Committee (Hoover Archival Documentaries)". Hoover Institution Press. Retrieved on 2006-12-28.  p. 7
  27. ^ a b Naughton, James M.; Adam Clymer (2006-12-26). "Gerald Ford, 38th President, Dies at 93 years and 165 day". New York Times. Naval Historical Center. Retrieved on 2007-10-19. 
  28. ^ Hove, Duane. American Warriors: Five Presidents in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Burd Street Press. ISBN 1-57249-307-0. 
  29. ^ "American Warriors: Five Presidents in the Pacific Theater of World War II". Retrieved on 2006-12-29. 
  30. ^ "President Gerald R. Ford". US Navy. 2007. Retrieved on 2007-09-09. 
  31. ^ "World War II Photographs". militaryunits. 2007. Retrieved on 2007-09-09. "WW2042 "Activities aboard USS MONTEREY. Navy pilots in the forward elevator well playing basketball." Jumper at left identified as Gerald R. Ford. Attributed to Lt. Victor Jorgensen, circa June/July 1944. 80--G--417628" 
  32. ^ The Supreme Council, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, USA.
  33. ^ "Gerald Ford". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara. Retrieved on 2007-01-17. 
  34. ^ Howard, Jane (1974-12-08). "The 38th First Lady: Not a Robot At All". The New York Times. 
  35. ^ Kruse, Melissa (2003-01-03). "The Patterson Barn, Grand Rapids, Michigan - Barn razing erases vintage landmark". The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved on 2006-12-29. 
  36. ^ a b "Gerald R. Ford (1913–2006)". From Revolution to Reconstruction - an .HTML project. Retrieved on 2006-12-29. 
  37. ^ a b "Gerald R. Ford". Editorial. The New York Times. 2006-12-28. Retrieved on 2006-12-29. 
  38. ^
  39. ^ 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.
  40. ^ a b;_ylt=Auja.Pnsc93tNZhdcJwbXyl2wPIE
  41. ^ Ford, Gerald (2001-05-23). "Address by President Gerald R. Ford, May 23, 2001". United States Senate. Retrieved on 2006-12-30. 
  42. ^ Jackson, Harold (2006-12-27). "Guardian newspaper obituary". The Guardian.,,1978937,00.html. Retrieved on 2006-12-30. 
  43. ^ Reeves, Richard. A Ford, not a Lincoln. 
  44. ^ "Jimmy Carter". Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents. University of Seattle. 1977-01-20. Retrieved on 2007-01-17. 
  45. ^ Naughton, James M (2006-12-27). "The Real Jerry Ford". PoynterOnline. Retrieved on 2007-03-31. 
  46. ^
  47. ^ Kornblut, Anne (2006-12-29). "Ford Arranged His Funeral to Reflect Himself and Drew in a Former Adversary". The New York Times. Retrieved on 2007-04-04. 
  48. ^ Updegrove, Mark K. "Flying Coach to Cairo". (August/September 2006). Retrieved on December 31, 2006. "Certainly few observers in January 1977 would have predicted that Jimmy and I would become the closest of friends," Ford said in 2000.
  49. ^ Thomas, Evan (2007). "The 38th President: More Than Met the Eye". Newsweek National News. Retrieved on 2009-01-04. 
  50. ^ Allen, Richard V. How the Bush Dynasty Almost Wasn't. Hoover Institution, reprinted from the New York Times Magazine, July 30, 2000. Retrieved on December 31, 2006.
  51. ^ "All-Star Celebration Opening the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum". IMDB. 1981. Retrieved on 2006-12-31. 
  52. ^ "Politicians Who Received the Medal of Freedom". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved on 2006-12-31. 
  53. ^ "Gerald Ford". John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. 2001. Retrieved on 2006-12-31. 
  54. ^ Price, Deb. Gerald Ford: Treat gay couples equally. The Detroit News, October 29, 2001. Retrieved on December 28, 2006
  55. ^ Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. "Vocal Gay Republicans Upsetting Conservatives," The New York Times, June 1, 2003, p. N26.
  56. ^ Woodward, Bob. "Ford Disagreed With Bush About Invading Iraq". The Washington Post, December 28, 2006. Retrieved on December 28, 2006
  57. ^ Embargoed Interview Reveals Ford Opposed Iraq War. Democracy Now Headlines for December 28, 2006. Retrieved on December 28, 2006
  58. ^ Gerald Ford recovering after strokes. BBC, August 2, 2000. Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
  59. ^ Hospitalized After Suffering a Stroke, Former President Ford Is Expected to Fully Recover NYTimes, August 3, 2000. Retrieved on 2008-07-05.
  60. ^ Former President Ford, 92, hospitalized with pneumonia. Associated Press, January 17, 2006. Retrieved on 2007-10-19.
  61. ^ Gerald Ford released from hospital. Associated Press, July 26, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
  62. ^ Former President Ford in hospital for tests. Associated Press, 2006-10-12. Retrieved on 2008-03-02.
  63. ^ Gerald Ford Dies At Age 93. CNN Transcript December 26, 2006. Retrieved on 2008-03-02.
  64. ^ Certain, Rev. Dr. Robert (2007-01-02). "Homily Offered by the Rev. Dr. Robert Certain State Funeral of Gerald R. Ford". Retrieved on 2001-01-17. 
  65. ^ Wilson, Jeff. Former President Gerald Ford Dies at 93. Associated Press. December 27, 2006. Also available here. Retrieved on December 31, 2006.
  66. ^ "Ford eclipses Reagan as oldest ex-president". USA Today. 2006-11-12. Retrieved on 2008-03-02. 

[edit] References

[edit] Primary sources

  • Ford, Gerald R. (1994). Presidential Perspectives from the National Archives. ISBN 1-880875-04-7. 
  • Ford, Gerald R. (1987). Humor and the Presidency. ISBN 0-87795-918-8. 
  • Ford, Gerald R. (1979). A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford. ISBN 0-06-011297-2. 
  • Ford, Gerald R. (1973). Selected Speeches. ISBN 0-87948-029-7. 
  • Ford, Gerald R. (1965). Portrait of the assassin (Lee Harvey Oswald). ASIN B0006BMZM4. 
  • Ford, Betty (1978). The Times of My Life. ISBN 0-06-011298-0. 
  • Casserly, John J. (1977). The Ford White House: Diary of a Speechwriter. ISBN 0-87081-106-1. 
  • Coyne, John R. (1979). Fall in and Cheer. ISBN 0-385-11119-3. 
  • DeFrank, Thomas. (2007). Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford. ISBN 0-399-15450-7. 
  • Gergen, David. (2000). Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership. ISBN 0-684-82663-1. , by speechwriter
  • Hartmann, Robert T. (1980). Palace Politics: An Insider's Account of the Ford Years. ISBN 0-07-026951-3. , by chief of staff
  • Hersey, John (1980). Aspects of the Presidency: Truman and Ford in Office (The President: A Minute-by-Minute Account of a Week in the Life of Gerald Ford). ISBN 0-89919-012-X. 
  • Kissinger, Henry A. (1999). Years of Renewal. ISBN 0-684-85572-0.  by Secretary of State
  • Thompson, Kenneth (ed.) (1980). The Ford Presidency: Twenty-Two Intimate Perspectives of Gerald Ford. ISBN 0-8191-6960-9. 

[edit] Secondary sources

  • Brinkley, Douglas (2007). Gerald R. Ford. ISBN 0-805-06909-7.  full-scale biography
  • Cannon, James (1993). Time and Chance: Gerald R. Ford's Appointment with History. ISBN 0-472-08482-8.  full-scale biography
  • Conley, Richard S. "Presidential Influence and Minority Party Liaison on Veto Overrides: New Evidence from the Ford Presidency." American Politics Research 2002 30(1): 34–65. Issn: 1532-673x Fulltext: in Swetswise
  • Firestone, Bernard J. and Alexej Ugrinsky (eds) (1992). Gerald R. Ford and the Politics of Post-Watergate America. ISBN 0-313-28009-6. 
  • Greene, John Robert (1992). The Limits of Power: The Nixon and Ford Administrations. ISBN 0-253-32637-0. 
  • Greene, John Robert (1995). The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford. ISBN 0-7006-0639-4. , the major scholarly study
  • Hersey, John Richard. The President: A Minute-By-Minute Account of a Week in the Life of Gerald Ford. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1975.
  • Hult, Karen M. and Walcott, Charles E. Empowering the White House: Governance under Nixon, Ford, and Carter. U. Press of Kansas, 2004.
  • Jespersen, T. Christopher. "Kissinger, Ford, and Congress: the Very Bitter End in Vietnam." Pacific Historical Review 2002 71(3): 439–473. Issn: 0030-8684 Fulltext: in University of California; Swetswise; Jstor and Ebsco
  • Jespersen, T. Christopher. "The Bitter End and the Lost Chance in Vietnam: Congress, the Ford Administration, and the Battle over Vietnam, 1975–76." Diplomatic History 2000 24(2): 265–293. Issn: 0145-2096 Fulltext: in Swetswise, Ingenta, Ebsco
  • Maynard, Christopher A. "Manufacturing Voter Confidence: a Video Analysis of the American 1976 Presidential and Vice-presidential Debates." Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 1997 17(4): 523–562. Issn: 0143-9685 Fulltext: in Ingenta
  • Mieczkowski, Yanek (2005). Gerald Ford And The Challenges Of The 1970s. ISBN 0-8131-2349-6. 
  • Werth, Barry (2006). 31 Days: The Crisis That Gave Us the Government We Have Today. ISBN 0-385-51380-1. 

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